The PROTECT Group explained





Created: 1992
Part of IPCSA: since 2019

The PROTECT Group develops and supports the electronic reporting required by port and other authorities from vessels entering or leaving a port or port area. It maintains and develops EDI through the PROTECT Guide.

PROTECT was set up as a standards specialist group by six major ports in Europe in 1992. The vision: to harmonise and optimise electronic information exchange by means of standardised messages legally required in ports. Over the years, PROTECT attracted many more participants, including port authorities and Port Community System operators.

Close cooperation and collaboration with the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) ultimately led to PROTECT becoming a working group within IPCSA in 2019. Since the beginning of 2021, PROTECT has been an integral part of IPCSA

Over the past few years, PROTECT has gone from strength to strength:

  • Adding XML messaging to the EDIFACT standard in response to European Directive 2010/65
  • Building links with UN/CEFACT
  • Gaining recognition from the IMO FAL committee for message maintenance
  • Working with UN/CEFACT and the International Maritime Organization on data modelling
  • Collaborating with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)
  • Strengthening links with ESPO (European Sea Ports Organisation)
  • Working closely with IPCSA before joining the association

A new focus

The full integration of PROTECT into IPCSA represented a pivotal development in the field of standardised and harmonised electronic information exchange.

The integration of PROTECT into IPCSA has consolidated, within one organisation, an unrivalled level of knowledge and experience in standardised and harmonised electronic information exchange; this renewed strength and focus is helping to accelerate innovations and advances in the sector.

The organisational structure of PROTECT has been revised and a new vision is being created. Although it started as an EU project, PROTECT is now recognised globally. It has responsibility for (amongst many) the development and maintenance of the IFTDGN dangerous goods

notification message, the WASDIS waste disposal information message and the BERMAN berth services request message.

PROTECT’s members consider and provide guidance on standards issues to international and regional bodies such as the European Commission; as part of the IPCSA family, PROTECT now also has a voice at the IMO.

Through IPCSA’s delegation at the IMO, PROTECT is now supporting the IMO in its Correspondence Groups and Working Groups on matters of electronic messaging.

IPCSA and PROTECT are together accelerating their work in supporting international standards, including in the delivery of Just-In-Time (ship arrival) APIs and data through international standards bodies. themselves.

PROTECT Group mission

“PROTECT supports the continuous improvement of port performance and trade facilitation by providing the expertise and support necessary to maintain and develop globally recognised message standards. PROTECT will continually review standards to help Ports and Port Authorities take advantage of current and future digital opportunities. Where necessary PROTECT will publish guides on how to implement standards. Our aim at all times is to support digital message standardization & integration throughout the port community & supply chain.”

About IPCSA:  

IPCSA represents Sea and Air Port Authorities, Port Community System Operators, Single Window Operators and Air / Cargo Community Systems Operators across all regions of the world.  IPCSA recognised across the globe for providing advice and guidance on the electronic exchange of information across borders and throughout the whole supply chain.


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