The Facilitation Committee under UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) has now approved revised guidelines for the use of electronic certificates in the shipping industry in order to bring communication in the industry up to date.

Less paper work and fewer delays. That is the purpose of increasing the use of electronic certificates in the shipping industry.

With the approval of the new guidelines, the IMO hopes that, over time, the Member States over time will accept the new electronic certificates on equal terms with the old paper certificates.

FAL Convention is being brought up to date

The step towards using electronic certificates also implies that the Facilitation Committee updates the FAL Convention (the IMO's Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic).

In connection with the updating of the Convention, the Committee has now approved that flag and port State authorities should accept that vessels may now submit the so-called FAL documentation electronically instead of filling in paper forms as they used to do.

Expectations are that the amendments to the FAL Convention will be adopted in 2016.