NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
By Sea and Coast | 04/01/2021

Global Solutions for the Maritime Industry: Digital data sharing

In previous articles I made reference to global digital platforms and their importance in the development of new business models. The ongoing digital evolution and the activities carried out by the maritime industry, as well as the participation of the actors involved and their various activities generate valuable data that can be used to benefit the entire ecosystem to obtain a competitive advantage.

For the preparation of this article, I made a review of some of the bulletins on transport and trade facilitation of the "United Nations Conference on Trade and Development" (UNCTAD), which are related to the transmission of data in transport and maritime trade, considering that this organization is promoting an important project on the Digitalization of World Maritime Trade, in addition to pointing out other important organizations, associations and projects in development that highlight the importance of data isharing n maritime trade.

Most freight transport companies and others related to the maritime industry still use paper documents for their transactions. Trade and shipping generate an amount of data that is important. There are maritime companies and operators that already accept data sharing and rely on secure transmissions using emerging technology. That security and trust allows more actors to join the ecosystem, at the same time this will depend on the security models they use to protect themselves.

UNCTAD for its part, in the transportation bulletin for the fourth quarter of 2020 it states: "Information and data are the basis of knowledge." He adds that substantial investments are being made in digital technologies that allow more digital data flows in supply chains, such that logistics service providers (LSPs), carriers, intermodal operators (air, maritime and land), authorities Port and terminal operators, regulatory bodies and beneficial owners of cargo (BCO) are working on this issue.

There are also different commercial and maritime transport operators that are sharing information through data transmission. These platforms allow data sharing and public-private collaboration as evidenced the Digital Transport Logistics Forum (DTLF) this association formed by a group of expert stakeholders together from different communities in transport and logistics, with a view to building a common vision and roadmap for digital transport and logistics, an association that brings together representatives of the Member States of the European Union and stakeholders from the transport and logistics communities.

Technological evolution drives actors to participate and adapt more and more to technological disruptions, others, on the other hand, are starting to continue advancing. The ability to data sharing is part of that transformation. Theplatform TradeLens, an initiative of Maersk and IBM, is a good example, made up of an interconnected ecosystem of partners in the supply chain: cargo owners, maritime and land carriers, freight forwarders and logistics providers, ports and terminals, customs authorities, among others. This platform has among its objectives to create a global commercial digitization platform.

The Data Strategy for the European Union, proposed by the European Commission projects data as a potential source of innovation that should be exploited and how they can be stored and processed open opportunities for companies to develop tools for greater control, considering that this data volume increases more and more. (European Commission, 2020)

The Digitizing Global Maritime Trade (DGMT) project that develops the automation and customs reform program UNCTAD, with its acronym (ASCUDA) implements a specialized data integration solution called (ASYHUB). This exchange project is highlighted by a central database and constitutes a sample like the automation and customs reform program UNCTAD, it also seeks to provide a reduction in transit times, associating this reduction with the growth of trade and therefore with the growth of the GDP and the creation of employment.

Blockchain technology is also another important tool for the exchange of data in a secure way, as it is immutable, the data is recorded, distributed and allows several actors to access reliably through books of shared blockchain accounting. Cargo owners can also independently of the type of transport used to know the state and place where the cargo is, using the so-called smart containers with IoT (Internet of Things) technologies through data communication standards applied in intermodal transport.

In practice operators, customers and third parties use many different technologies and data sharing methods when communicating. Independent initiatives have also been welcomed, as developed by the "Digital Container Shipping Association” (DCSA) backed by nine of the lines of larger containers of the world, this project standards promotes and technological frameworks, through a 'DCSA Information Model' that serves as a data language to achieve an alignment between all those involved and achieve that all those involved can speak the same business and data language in all standards.

Maritime trade operators have also benefited by using international standards such as the one provided by single windows, which allow merchants to communicate electronically using data sharing with all the agencies involved. Regarding standardization, there is the initiative of the “United Nations Center for the Facilitation of Commerce and Electronic Business (UN/ CEFACT) which develops a data model that allows intermodal monitoring and tracking from seller to buyer.

The Automated Customs Data System (ASYCUDA) is also a sample how the exchange of data facilitates the operations of the trade, so that any data provider country of (ASYCUDA), can data sharing on trade through any way of transportation (air, sea or land), which could have a huge impact on the time and cost of international trade. The use of electronic information and digitization in clearance processes by customs administrations allows anticipating what cargo to inspect and what cargo to release as goods arrive. This opens up the possibility of conducting risk analysis based on the data obtained and processed to speed up delivery times.

The United Nations Organization (UN), in a statement in September 2020, signed by several of its attached international agencies, including the International Maritime Organization, expressed their commitment to support governments in a greater digitization of trade and customs procedures. in accordance with United Nations global standards, in order to ensure the rapid and secure sharing of data and information on cargo and means of transport with authorizations and without contact between those involved.

The importance of data transmission lies in the fact that the information provided by the anticipated data of any maritime cargo contributes to decision-making and that transparency allows knowing the location of the goods, their condition, possible delays in transit and bad weather, these movements and operational events provide information in real time, which reduces total transit times for companies.

Beyond this, following what was stated in Bulletin No. 64 UNCTAD, for the third quarter of 2020: “...maritime transport data is becoming an important source of high-frequency statistics and market intelligence. These include statistics on port calls, ship navigation speeds, port traffic volumes, shipping schedules, deployed capacity and the time that ships spend in port ”. This visibility allows a better understanding of the situation, allowing subsequent analysis of transport operations and the supply chain.

These initiatives, projects and proposals related to digital data sharing make up some of the global solutions that facilitate operations related to the transport of goods and logistics, modernize the ecosystems of the supply chain, and also generate significant cost savings for companies. companies and allow decisions to be made with greater situational awareness and reduce the time in maritime trade operations to make it more efficient and sustainable.

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