How can ICC AOKpass reopen cross border travel and trade in the age of COVID-19?

  • 23 November 2020

ICC AOKpass, a risk mitigation tool, is a scalable solution that enables governments and border authorities to reopen cross border travel safely and efficiently.

ICC AOKpass allows users to present digitally authenticated, secure and portable copies of medical records to government authorities, border agencies and employers, without compromising their personal data.

Supported by International SOS and SGS Group, the ICC AOKpass digital application utilises secure blockchain technology to validate and verify the authenticity of digital passes without requiring users to disclose personal medical information. After a round of successful ICCAOK pass pilots, ICC is working with national governments, multilateral organisations and businesses, to establish a standardised protocol for cross border travel in the COVID-19 era.

Here are six ways that ICC AOKpass can enable the safe reopening of cross border travel and trade:

Establish standards

In line with ICC’s founding mission to promote more widespread peace and prosperity, including through the development of rules and standards to facilitate global trade, ICC AOKpass will provide governments and businesses with clarity on the requirements for cross-border travel. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, national governments have constructed a wide variety of tariff barriers, travel restrictions, and border closures, to contain the spread of the virus. As a result, global supply chains have experienced severe disruption causing businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to suffer.

As governments look to safely reopen their economies, concrete global standards will be essential to mitigate further disruption to global supply chains. By implementing ICC AOKpass, governments can establish a standardised protocol for all cross-border travellers, including those travelling to places of employment or to conduct business. In the absence of standards, governments risk creating a system of disparate and competing policies that will only prolong the economic and human consequences associated with the pandemic.

Vaccine certification

Given recent vaccine developments, the need for a standardised approach to reopening travel and trade will be particularly important in the coming months. With pharmaceutical companies releasing impressive early vaccine results, governments will need be prepared for an influx of cross border travellers soon.

One of the advantages of ICC AOKpass is that governments can adapt to medical advancements, such as the production and availability of proven vaccines. Whereas now ICC AOKpass requires inbound travellers to present a negative COVID-19 test result, governments can replace screening tests with vaccines in the future.

Accelerate border checks

By using secure blockchain technology, ICC AOKpass will also accelerate cross-border checks. Today, cross-border travellers are required to fill out separate paper-based documents when arriving to and departing from travel ports. Due to the hand-to-hand nature of these exchanges, travellers and border agents are susceptible to contracting and transmitting the virus. As more and more countries reopen for trade and travel, these time-consuming paper-based exchanges will likely lead to costly border queues and backlogs.

Unlike paper-based exchanges, ICC AOKpass is completely contactless and takes only a matter of seconds to scan. For each user, ICC AOKpass generates a unique scannable QR code that can be presented to border authorities for validation through the ICC AOKpass mobile application. When scanning a digital pass, border agents receive a notification detailing whether the traveller is allowed entry based on their government’s medical requirements. Since ICCAOK pass is entirely contactless, there is limited  risk of transmitting the virus.

Reopen suffering sectors

COVID-19 has caused widespread disruptions to global supply chains and businesses of all sizes, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The travel and tourism sector has been particularly impacted by the current pandemic due to declining traveller confidence and reduced consumer demand.

Utilising ICC AOKpass, national governments can more safely reopen travel corridors and aviation routes that serve tourism destinations. At the same time, travel and tourism companies can incorporate ICC AOKpass into their business operations to augment consumer and employee safety. Whether it’s employees arriving to work, or customers entering storefronts, ICC AOKpass provides businesses with a timely and efficient COVID-19 screening solution.

Re-establish global trade routes

ICC AOKpass will also facilitate the reopening of critical global trade routes. Due to travel restrictions and control measures, critical global trade routes remain severely disrupted, and in some cases, completely blocked. When cross-border trade routes are open, they typically suffer from frequent bottlenecks and documentation checks.

With ICC AOKpass, governments can cut down on these time-consuming procedures and improve regional and international trade facilitation. From lorry drivers delivering goods to a neighbouring country, to cargo shippers transporting products around the world, ICC AOKpass provides businesses and governments with a speedy screening solution in the age of COVID-19.

Restore consumer confidence

Importantly ICC AOKpass will restore consumer confidence in industries and sectors ravaged by the pandemic. By using ICC AOKpass, consumers will feel safe and comfortable when entering a flight, workplace, and university class again. When paired with other health measures, such as mask wearing, ICC AOKpass can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

ICC AOKpass also incentivises individuals to get tested more, which will help governments identify asymptomatic individuals who would otherwise not complete a COVID-19 test and pass by undetected. To this end, ICC is working to make #ATicketATest a priority for governments everywhere.

Unlike other digital solutions, ICC AOKpass respects consumer medical privacy and user confidentiality. As a result of the application’s secure blockchain technology, fraud is impossible. By generating a unique QR code, the application does not revel or disclose user medical history to border authorities, government administrations, or other third parties.

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