US National Freight Data Portal one step closer to reality

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Efforts to develop international standards for the sharing and use of digital information throughout the supply chain took a significant step forward at a joint meeting of the Supply Chain Optimization and Resilience (SCORe) Coalition and global standards organisation ASTM International in Long Beach, California.

A group of public and private sector stakeholders – including John D. Porcari, Port Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Commissioner Carl Bentzel, the U.S. Department of Commerce, MARAD, senior leadership of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and representatives of the supply chain – agreed that there was a strong market and governmental need for enhanced standards exchange and use of digital information in the supply chain.

Such standards would serve as building blocks for a National Freight Data Portal that would enable global supply chain data exchange, relieving port and supply chain congestion and improving trade competitiveness.

In its recently released Supply Chain Assessment of the Transportation Industrial Base: Freight and Logistics, the U.S. Department of Transportation recommended creation of such a portal, noting the importance of greater standardisation and interoperability of data for improving end-to-end visibility and increasing effective throughput capacity of the supply chain.

“I’m very pleased with industry’s willingness to partner, share data, and develop new information that will help the goods movement chain operate more efficiently,” said Porcari.

“I encourage the private sector to continue moving toward consensus around data sharing needs. Industry can concurrently advance data standards work while working closely with the Department of Transportation and FMC.”

International standards developed at ASTM can underpin a National Freight Data Portal, while also having relevance and applicability for global supply chains.

Based on the results of the event, a meeting will be called to officially organise the committee and recommend to the ASTM Board the establishment of a new Technical Committee to develop these standards.

Len Morrissey, Director of Global Business Development and Strategy for ASTM International commented: “We are very excited to be part of this important effort to help address this global challenge.

“Bringing together all of the diverse stakeholders that comprise the global supply chain to address the issues that we discussed is a complex undertaking but one that plays to ASTM’s strengths as a neutral consensus builder.”

This is the latest in a global supply chain shift to enhanced data sharing through standardisaton: in November 2021 the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) published interface standards and messaging application programming interface (API) specifications for all 50 event timestamps defined in its port call data definitions.

In October 2021 Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)  fully adopted BIC Facility Codes (BFC) for all depots globally.

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