Supply chain stakeholders pressed forward this week with plans to create a national freight data portal, arguing that there is both a market and a governmental need for performance-based and technology-neutral international standards for the exchange of digital information.
Parties working toward that goal gathered at a joint meeting of the Supply Chain Optimization and Resilience (SCORe) Coalition and global standards organization ASTM International in Long Beach, Calif.
Attendees included public and private sector representatives from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, beneficial cargo owners, truckers, retailers, convenience stores, medical supplies and equipment manufacturers, and supply chain transportation, logistics, and engineering providers. Additional speakers included staff from the DOT’s U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), the U.S. Department of Commerce, FMC Commissioner Carl Bentzel, and John D. Porcari, Port Envoy to the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force.
In a statement, the group said that the international data standards they sought would serve as building blocks for a National Freight Data Portal that would enable global supply chain data exchange, relieve port and supply chain congestion, and improve trade competitiveness. In order to reach that goal, the group now plans to form a committee and recommend to the ASTM Board the establishment of a new Technical Committee to develop these standards.
“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,” Porcari said in a release. “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 Federal Maritime Commission.”
In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Transportation also recommended creation of such a portal, noting the importance of greater standardization and interoperability of data for improving end-to-end visibility and increasing effective throughput capacity of the supply chain.
“The growth of global container shipping exploded in the 1960s after public and private sector stakeholders came together through a consensus standards process to develop standardized container sizes,” Jeff Weiss, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, DC and chief counsel to the SCORe Coalition, said in a release. “Our predecessors standardized the physical container to improve efficiency and throughput. Today we have reached a second pivot point, in which we have agreed to come together in a public-private partnership to standardize the exchange and use of digital information in the supply chain. In time, we believe this step will unleash a new wave of innovation that will radically improve supply chain efficiency, agility, and resilience.”