About the project



Port Information Guide
Port Sections guide

Captains, shipping lines, trading floors

Port selection
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Nautical Port Information Project

About the projectThe various, sometimes inconsistent sources of nautical information required for port entry and berth / terminal usage can lead to confusion on the part of the user. Misunderstanding or misuse of such data bears directly on ship and port safety, efficiency of port operations and the protection of the environment.

Why an IHMA standard?

First a short review of the past 3 years:
Since the IHMA congress in Malta, where Maersk pleaded for more reliable nautical information, a lot has happened.

Following an industry-wide investigation it was recognised that there is a significant lack of uniformly presented, complete, accurate and easily accessible nautical port information. For a variety of reasons this information is considered to be of great importance to masters, shipping lines, trading floors, agents and publishers of such information.

About the projectThe lack of uniformity and availability of sound nautical port information stems from the fact that this infor- mation is generally published in printed documents and therefore any amendments to such information is administratively cumbersome, resource intensive and, inevitably, late. In addition, there is no central point from which information is available. Thus a port’s customers tend to turn to ships’ agents for information, as they can not necessarily rely on existing publications. They, in turn, along with other enquirers call the harbour master’s office and / or terminal operators to gain the required information; ships’ agents have reported that 95% of the queries they handle involve nautical port information. Apart from being very time consuming, the process has the almost inevitable consequence of providing apparently inconsistent and sometimes outdated information.

Moreover, the use of digital data brings with it that the update frequency will increase as updating, techni- cally, will become easier and quicker. The higher update frequency however requires digital input. At the same time, the users’ expectations of the accuracy of data goes up. As marine people may gradually disappear from Ports, a standard of nautical knowledge, explicitly written down, is important, not least to the Harbour Masters Association itself.

IHMA considers easily accessible, accurate and up to date nautical port information in a standardised format of utmost importance and seeks to overcome the described shortcomings by its Nautical Port Information Project.

Nautical port information can be divided into two parts:

1. For the port as a whole; Port Information Guide
Giving general nautical port information such as contact information, notifications, port description etc.
2. For each berth or fairway section; Port Sections Guide
Giving specific nautical port information per section of the port; approaches, anchorages, entrances, fairways, berths and covers information such as position, UKC policy and wind, tidal, visibility restrictions


Together with the Maritime Industry

Together with the Maritime Industry I
The need for information of all concerned parties (captains, traders, publishers of nautical information etc.) consists of:
- General Nautical Port Information (IHMA)
- Specific Nautical Port Information (IHMA)
- Port Electronic Navigational Charts (UKHO)
- Terminal Information (OCIMF)
- Pilot Passage Plan

Together with the Maritime Industry II
The Port Information Guide and the Port Sections Guide both provide input for present and future publications
of nautical publishers. With the increasing number of digital publications, the frequency of updating rises drama- tically and the users expectations on the correctness of data goes up inevitably. Therefore the cooperation with UKHO is of great importance to ensure our templates meet the demands of publishers.

The Oil Companies International Maritime Forum (OCIMF) is developing at present the marine terminal particu- lars questionnaire (TPQ). This is to serve as a component of the OCIMF Marine Terminal Assessment System with as expected outcome an accurate repository of marine particulars data needed for assessing suitability of the ship/shore interface. This Terminal Assessment System is targeting to be completed in 2013. IHMA is member of the Terminal Particulars Questionnaire Working Group. The big benefit is that we can fine tune the template of our Port Section Guides, ensuring that our general and specific nautical port information cover all nautical fields in the Terminal Particulars Questionnaire. In return, we will be able to look into terminal information related to our job such as mooring arrangements, mooring plans, contact info etc. The Terminal Particulars Questionnaire of OCIMF will collect information from the (oil)terminals such as eg;

Pilot Passage Plan
The Nautical Institute advices in its (concept) guide “Passage Planning in Ports” that pilots should provide the master with a basic indication of a preferred intention before the ship arrives at the pilot station. If on top of that the master has up-to-date nautical charts on board, he can make the port passage plan an integral part of the passage plan from berth to berth. If one of these 2 elements is missing, the master will not be able to do this and there will always be a lot of difference between the port passage plans of the master and pilot.

Recognition of the maritime industry

IHMA, having been invited by OCIMF Members, has worked with the OCIMF TPQ as only non-OCIMF member.

Nautical Institute
The Nautical Institute, in its guide “Passage Planning in Ports”, encourages all port authorities to provide appro- priate and significant port passage planning guidance on their websites and nominates the Port Information Guide as good example of this practice.

Also PIANC has recognized the good work of IHMA; the PIANC Work Group 55 recently has decided to add to its new guidelines “The Safety Aspect Affecting the Berthing Operations of Tankers to Oil and Gas Terminals” a chapter called “Generic port information”, explaining and promoting the IHMA Nautical Port Information Project.