MSW and platform development

on .

Maritime SIngle Window contributes to the development of an European digital maritime transport platform. To provide the European maritime transport industry "a place to stand on".

"A place to stand on, (..) to move the Earth". Recently Commissionar Oettinger (EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society) indicated in a speech, that Europe should try to remedy its failure to develop many of the platforms underpinning the online economy - these being the platform on which new service developments "stand on".

From the perspective of the Juncker Commission 10 policy priorities, Maritime Single Window (MSW) could substantially contribute to the development of a (common) EU Digital Single Market. A major condition being that the development of national MSW's and possible succeeding platforms might allow the opportunity for European companies to sell new services connected to the EU maritime transport industry. Therefore a harmonised approach and interconnectivity of systems are essential.

The base of MSW development is within the evolution of the global supply chain. An important feature of MSW is to allow and create collaboration between the public and private domain, i.e. to create trust between the different operators within the supply chain. 

For successful MSW development, it is important that the various government agencies continue to execute their responsibilities and benefit from the opportunities provided through electronic reporting. In return public authorities have the obligation to provide companies the opportunity for reporting once.

The quality of information generated depends on collaboration and trust in the supply chain allowing systems to operate in an interoperable digital market.The public authorities play a role in supply chain management (SCM). They can substantially assist the supply chain operators developing a high-performing value system, thereby enhancing the quality of their work.

The development of a MSW is about the need for information visibility and more in general about relationship management. Relationship management has a dramatic impact on performance. In many cases, the information systems and technology required for the supply chain effort are available and can be implemented in a fairly short term and easy way. However, a MSW is not about technology only. And "The essence of technology is nothing technologicaly", as Martin Heidegger already informed us in the early part of the 20th century. The essence is rather on craftsmanship, care, authenticity and a deference to what is. Not to forget on human relationships.

"Many initiative in information management fail as a result of poor communications of expectations and the resulting behaviors. Managers often assume that the personal relationships within and between organisations in a supply chain will fall into place once the technical systems are established. However, managing relationships among the various organisations is often the most difficult part of the SCM initiative. Moreover, the single most important ingredient for successful SCM may well be trusting relationships among partners in the supply chain, where each party in the chain has confidence in the other members' capabilities and bactions. Without positive interpersonal relationships, the other systems cannot function effectively. " 


  • "Supply Chain Redesign", Robert B. Handfield - Ernest L. Nichoils, Jr - Financial times, 2002
  • "Nothing to stand on", Article in The Economist, April 18th, 2015