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FMC to examine how data can improve ocean cargo flow

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The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) will examine data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to the supply chain inefficiencies.

The effort, spearheaded by Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel of the FMC, is said to be critical to pinpointing how data can contribute to the long-term reliability of the domestic cargo delivery system.

The initiative will propose recommendations for common data standards to be used by the international shipping supply chain, as well as access policies and protocols that would streamline information sharing across the ocean supply chain.

The initial findings of this initiative will be presented at a Maritime Data Summit in Spring 2022.

“Events of the past year have proven the need for the United States to achieve more capacity from our cargo delivery system. Information sharing and additional transparency in how containers move is one way we can move more containers more efficiently. I appreciate Commissioner Bentzel’s willingness to take on this project and I am confident his work will lead to beneficial and implementable recommendations,” said Daniel B. Maffei, Chairman for FMC.

As part of the project, Bentzel will conduct research, interviews, round tables, and hold public meetings to inform the “status quo” in maritime data. These will explore what common ocean shipping data is created with each hand-off of a container through the supply chain, how that data is stored and shared, and identify what critical data elements are used by each supply chain party.

Initial deliverables for the project will include a data inventory and recommendations for common standards.

Commissioner Bentzel commented saying “I have already met with many port industry leaders and stakeholders around our coastlines, and the topic of reliable, actionable operational shipping information to help more efficiently move cargo was one of the foremost topics of concern.

“When you go through a US airport you know how and where to park your car, you know that you will be transported to the airport terminal, when you get to the terminal you will be provided information on your gate and information about when your plane will depart and land, adequate personnel are available to handle luggage and run it through security throughout this process, and it is repeated at landing. The maritime industry does not have a similar system in place.

“Given the immense national economic impact and our nation’s reliance on ocean shipping, sustained surges in cargo volumes and other operational impacts caused by COVID-19, it is clear to me that we need to develop a stronger system of information for the shipping public.

“The FMC will work with the industry to develop greater systems of transparency for services surrounding the international intermodal transportation of goods. Our port gateway corridors are limited by physical constraints and the best options for efficiencies lie with the greater utilisation of information technologies and coordination between the different modes in the supply chain.”

Input from the Commission’s National Shipper Advisory Committee may also be utilised as part of the project.

This follows the news that FMC will be working alongside the Department for Transport (DOT) to publish a request for information on standardised data exchange requirements for goods movement in the transportation supply chain.

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