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SEOUL – Italy and Korea join forces on ICT in maritime transport

Ambassador of Italy in Seoul Sergio Mercuri and Deputy Minister for Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of Korea JOO Sung-ho signed Memorandum of Understanding today on ICT and Innovation in Maritime Transport creating a direct line of communication between Italian and Korean Single Points of Contact (SPOC) as a first step in an effort aimed at eliminating paper in logistics (e-maritime) between the two countries.

Trade on the upswing: 8.47 billion in 2011

Italy and Korea enjoy considerable trade relations, which peaked in 2011 at $8.47 billion, and that have been on a steady rise as compared with previous years. In addition, facilitating access to 24 commercial Italian ports of entry has created the logistical conditions for use of the Trans European Network for Transport (TEN), which in no less than 6 cases involves itineraries that cross Italy.

Digitalisation and innovation in the maritime sector

The agreement between the Italian government (Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economic and Financial Affairs and Ministry of Universities and Research) and the Korean government (Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs) on matters concerning digitalisation and innovation in the maritime sector involves the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Port Authority of Genoa and La Spezia and the RINA; Korea’s Transport Ministry (MLTM) is represented along with the Port of Busan, the KLNET and Hyundai U&I.

Today’s memorandum follows upon an initial general protocol of ICT cooperation signed on 28 September 2011 between the Italian Ministry of Public Administration and the Korean Ministry of Public Administration and Security, and is the fruit of an initiative that grew out of the Global E-Government Symposium of June 2011 led by former President of DigitPA Prof. Francesco Beltrame with the support of RINA President and engineer Salerno.

Community level priority

Computerisation in maritime transport is one of the Community’s highest shipping priorities. EU Directive 2010/65 envisions that by the end of 2015 all Member States will have a “SPOC” (Single Point of Contact) by which to optimize and simplify bureaucratic formalities regarding the entry and departure of ships, which today largely involves the use of paper.

The matter also came to the attention of the European Agency for European Transport Networks (TEN-T) through the MIELE pilot project coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and managed at technical levels by RINA, which places Italy in close collaboration with Portugal, Cyprus, Spain and Germany, for the purpose of sharing related maritime contact points.

According to United Nations data, Korea boasts the best digital public administration in the world, with annual logistics savings of up to $3 billion, in consideration of which Italy decided to choose the Republic of Korea as its non-European partner in testing the maritime single contact points.

Based on Korea’s results, RINA has produced an estimate according to which the savings generated by digitalization would amount to approximately €1 billion annually; hence the importance of cooperation between Italy and Korea, leaders in the management of maritime traffic.