Digitalisation: The Next Step for the Merchant Shipping Directorate?

29 Jul 2022

3 min read

The Merchant Shipping Directorate (“MSD”) is launching a Preliminary Market Consultation (“PMC”), titled: “Provision of a Vessel Management System as part of the Digitalisation of the Merchant Shipping Directorate”, as part of the current ongoing project relating to a shift in operations within the Malta Ship Register to a more digitalized format. In order to achieve its targets in this regard, Transport Malta, through the MSD, has launched a series of preparatory steps which have guided the MSD in the direction of a Target Digital Maritime Architecture (“To-be” System). This preparatory work has led to the formulation of a Global Project which should in turn establish the digitalisation of all operations carried out by the MSD.

PMCs are relevant in particular when there is the undertaking of a complex procurement which would require significant preparation and procurement of innovative solutions similar to the above. The consultations assess whether the procurement itself is feasible from a financial and technical standpoint. These may also assess whether the prospective project would gain traction in its market when looking at the interest it gets from investors/players in that sector.

In this case, the PMC is being carried out to investigate the market options for a Vessel Management System (“VMS”) which will build on and expand the functions currently offered by the Fleet Management System which is the electronic register of ships as adopted by the Malta Flag Administration. The VMS shall provide, at a minimum, the requirements and functions listed in Section C of the recently published PMC document[1]. These include:

  • A public user interface (UI) for clients to register, login, apply and pay for services online in a self-service manner;
  • A private internal user interface which would allow MSD users to authenticate themselves via Active Directory Single Sign On and process the requests for services that clients have applied for via the public UI;
  • Dynamic and efficient form functionality which will allow for information and documents to be collected during the applications for services;
  • Workflow functionality allows for the applications to be processed in a streamlined and structured manner;
  • Functionality to generate digital certificates and/or documents as requested by the clients. It should be noted that in the case of such digital certificates and documents, users should have an option for printing such documents when required.

The issuance of this PMC does not constitute a commitment to issue a request for bids, award a contract, or pay any costs incurred in the preparation for a response to this PMC. Any information received in response to this PMC will assist TM’s team in finalising the scope of work and requirements which may be used at a future date in the issuance of a call for tenders.



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