If all goes well with a trial program beginning in October, megayachts making their way around the Med eventually will be able to e-file all arrival and departure documents. It’s anticipated to cut the current processing time up to 80 percent, plus save each port office about 2,000 sheets of paper.
The trial program is being run by two companies. One is Marinanow, an online berth- and yacht-reservation system. The other company is Navigodigitale, an online platform promoting nautical services throughout Tuscany, with the intent to simplifying customer service for both the industry and clients.
Marinanow and Navigodigitale believe the arrival process is ripe for simplifying. Some things, like using the VHF to hail the local authorities, obviously cannot be digitized. However, the variety of documents that need to be filed for permission to stay in a port require a good deal of time expended by captains and authorities alike.
The challenge, of course, is determining “the weight of the port bureaucracy that we will be trying to streamline,” says Pietro Angelini, director of Navigo Toscana, the owner of Navigodigitale. “We are talking about a job that could take a very long time, depending on the current degree of digitalization of the individual ports of the Mediterranean and the processes that each marina have in place for collecting the documents of the vessel and the captaincies.”
That’s among the reasons why just two ports, Tuscany and Sardinia, are the test beds for the trial program. While neither Marinanow nor Navigodigitale have stated how long the trial will last, they believe the 80-percent processing-time savings and paper reductions are not the only benefits. They believe applications will be better traced and organized, plus ports will have better updated mooring requests. Furthermore, they believe, yachts will be able to pay fees online.
Marinanow and Navigodigitale say they realize it’s a challenging road ahead. “The marine industry is still bound by very traditional systems and, since our creation in 2012, our mission is to help it become more digital,” says Alessandro Sestini, Marinanow’s founder. “The work with Navigodigitale will be a step forward, because we’re going to provide the necessary documentation to the marina before the vessel even arrives in the port. It’s a very ambitious project for which there is a definite need and one we all believe strongly in.”