- Central Registration System for Hazardous Goods Traffic and Shipping


ZMGS is the central registration system for hazardous goods traffic and shipping in Germany, and a central information portal that provides all available information on loads and vessels on request. Various ZMGS search options deliver information about the content, quantity and hazard classification of a particular cargo. ZMGS satisfies all requirements of the EU Directive 2002/59/EC, which is based on the specifications of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation).

National and regional implementations of cross-border directives can be a daunting task. For ZMGS, KISTERS took the route of modular component software for a powerful overall solution with specific individual scenarios that can be used anywhere in the world. An example:

Monitoring of hazardous goods transports along the German coastline

At the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, a current and continuously updating survey report monitors the German coastline along the North and Baltic Sea. Information is gathered, processed, evaluated and controlled here that could help contain complex emergencies, and will trigger an alarm and remedial measures where necessary.

An important component of the process is the real-time monitoring of thousands of tons of hazardous goods transported across German waters every day.

The solution

The information portal ZMGS, which was developed specifically for the waterway and shipping management of the Federal Republic, offers a large selection of options for the visualisation of shipping data. The implementation of the portal as an online solution for all popular browser systems facilitates quick compilations of the requested graphs at any workstation.

Interface points and standards

ZMGS receives hazardous goods reports from all the main harbours in Germany. Any ship calling at one of these ports must report any and all hazardous goods on board before arrival. ZMGS can handle all popular data formats for the exchange of cargo manifests, including the EDIFACT derivative PROTECT, or the XML message structure defined by EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency).

Notifications are linked with geo-positioning data, which ZMGS receives via standardised web services from the gateway of the Maritime Traffic Management System for all German coastal areas.


The wealth of information from various sources is combined to create one overview map with the exact positions of all hazardous goods transports at any time.

Overview North and Baltic Sea

Users can select generally accessible map backgrounds (e.g. Open Street Maps) or standard navigational charts (ECIDS) for nautical experts.User-friendly zoom functions allow the display of detail images in seconds for the assessment of critical situations.

EU Directive 2002/59/EC states that any maritime shipping carrier transporting hazardous goods is required to report these to the relevant authorities. The report must be submitted in an electronic format. ZMGS provides relevant interface points for the following institutions:

Reporting Services

Shipping lines and cargo brokers provide information about the hazardous goods transports in their care to official reporting services with years of experience in the reporting of loads to port authorities. For container freight, these reports are usually submitted in PROTECT format (an EDIFACT derivative) for exchange with third parties. ZMGS supports that format, as well as XML.

Traffic Command Centres

Every ship is required to call ahead to specific, internationally agreed reporting points via the VHF band. A report with information about the vessel and its cargo is forwarded to the relevant authorities. The information is captured by the IT systems of relevant traffic command centres, and then forwarded to ZMGS as so-called MRS alerts.

Automatic Identification System AIS

Since 2002, IMO regulations demand that every commercial vessel must be equipped with an AIS transponder. ZMGS receives large volumes of information as AIS messages, which are summarised to map the entire route of a vessel and allows the collation of geo-positioning data with associated hazardous goods information.

... with standards

Specifically in the sector for large volume goods transport, shipping companies submit their usually very few position reports directly via the web interface.

The Lloyd’s Naval Database offers intuitive filter functions for locating the correct type of vessel in order to transmit all specifications required by the central registration authorities.

Cargo information can then be adapted to the relevant type of transport, e.g. container, gas storage tanks, bulk cargo, etc.

In order to avoid entry errors when it comes to the sometimes very complex material designations, details can be selected directly from a hazardous goods database, which similarly offers an easy to use filter option to find the relevant substance designation.

Geo-positioning Data

The Central Command or Maritime Emergencies (CCME) and maritime traffic control centres along the German Bight and the Baltic Seaboard utilise geo-positioning data to view either overviews or detailed information on naval traffic in their respective territories. The data is collected for monitoring purposes, but also to support emergency services in case of accidents. Specific queries regarding cargo loads can be dispatched within seconds, and on-site emergency units can be informed of specifics via fax where needed.

Maritime Charts

Maritime charts are used as common tools  for operations at the CCME. They visualise the current positions of all commercial vessels in the North Sea and Baltic Sea waters. Additional information about each ship, e.g. call sign, draught, nationality, etc. is available at all times.

And more.... The maritime chart allows direct access to the hazardous goods information of a vessel registered with ZMGS. Visualisations are based on Open Layers, which means that charts are accessible no matter what technology was used to create it. The system is based firmly on open standards - and in particular on KISTERS know-how for dealing with geo-data to create exact representations to scale.

Hazardous Goods Database

The Hazardous Goods Database is a central component of the ZMGS. It manages all substance information relating to the IMDG Code and IBC and IGC Amendments for Bulk Cargo and Gas Storage Tanks.

ZMGS validates all hazardous goods information received via the various interface points by comparing the data to the information stored in the Hazardous Goods Database. The hazardous substance information on which the database relies is provided by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM).

Lloyds Register, the Naval Database

Lloyds, the global leader for naval registration companies, periodically publishes a naval database containing all relevant technical information about registered vessels in commercial shipping. The database is stored in ZMGS, and serves as a reliable source of reference for the technical and structural features of individual ships.

SafeSeaNet interface

EU Directive 2002/59/EC specifies a central index server for the collection of reports regarding maritime hazardous goods transports of all European coastal nations. Queries about who holds the most current information about a vessel and its hazardous cargo can be submitted by relevant authorities. In compliance with international reporting requirements, ZMGS, the German representative for SafeSeaNet data exchange, submits all relevant information to the SSN index server.

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