Category Archives: Advanced Computing

DCSA digital standards poised to become globally accepted

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has made some strides in becoming the main source of digital standards for shipping. Digital standards are very important for supply chain management because they guarantee that information is interchangeable between partners in any chain. I think the DCSA has gotten furthest in acceptance of everyone trying to do this.

One view has it that for the maritime industry, ports are the natural players to insure that there is an information hub with standard data for its stakeholders. This data would include not only maritime-related data such as arrival times, departure times, unloading times, locations of containers in the yard, but data relating to transport out of the yard, as well as data related to customs and clearing and safety. In cases where the port has inland depots, the information set should include what’s relevant for customers, and the partners who use those depots to move their cargo, whether it is transload or pickup and delivery.

But what standard data should be captured? Allowing ports themselves to design the data structures themselves is going to open the door to myriad incompatible sets of data. The DCSA has the right idea in trying for a standard that everyone can use.

The European Shippers Council is on board with the DCSA standards, which can be found on the dcsa website. Also, DCSA and the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) have been cooperating on the Maritime Data Initiative (MTDI) project.

It’s an important and interesting project for anyone interested in digitizing supply chains. If it works, major advantages will come about for writing software to make supply chains work better.

Maia Kemp-Welch 16/09/2022

DCSA digital standards poised to become globally accepted – The Loadstar

US logistics industry needs a unified data stream to boost cargo velocity

This article quotes Carl Bentzel, an FMC commissioner, who says that there is increased concentration of the ocean shipping business, from no carrier having more than 4%, to around 10 carriers, half of whom have 12-20% each.

Many supply chain participants have been calling for standardization of basic data surrounding a shipment, especially concerning its timing and needs as it moves through the system. There are no standards for this kind of data, and any attempt to compile it meets the challenge of disparate and constantly changing independent systems. And often, data for particular shipments is exchanged by emails.

It would be nice if the FMC would step in and develop a standard for data interchange. But different players have different concepts of what data is essential, according to the article. For instance, some partners want to know how long they have storage rights for a particular container, free of detention and demurrage charges. Others want to know whether a chassis is available, and where. Chassis shortages have hampered container moves in the LA/Long Beach area, despite a chassis pool; other ports have pools as well, but containers often ride out delays on a chassis if it’s believed the wait won’t be too long.

A standard would be nice, but often takes years to negotiate. The startup Dray Alliance, mentioned in the article, is trying to set a standard for some of this information with an online and app-based system. But not all the necessary data will be there, not for all the participants in the container-move supply chain. And it’s not clear truckers need one more app.

By Nick Savvides 15/12/2021

US logistics industry needs a unified data stream to boost cargo velocity – The Loadstar

The Big Supply Chain Analytics Failure – Supply Chain Shaman

The Supply Chain Shaman, Lora Cecere, always has something interesting to say and valuable to think about.

Her numbers show that supply-chain related firms are right now simply making incremental improvements on existing systems, and are ignoring the need to go out there and find new ways of gathering and making use of supply chain data.

Systems people for years have known that you have to re-engineer the processes, the ways of doing business, and the software must support that. While it may turn out that the software is already right to support new processes, it’s much more likely that entirely new forms of software are required for the processes to work properly and fluidly.

That means analysts and business process participants together must spend the time needed to truly understand what they need to accomplish, and put in the up-front research and planning to get the system designed well. Few companies are willing to tolerate the time required. But that’s where the true value is realized.

I was just reading an article that tried to set forth a design strategy for a Port Communication System for ports in South Africa. Currently they don’t have them. But the article was at such a high-level that there was no insight into the new procedures and methods that would be needed to really bring these ports into the 21st Century. I’m afraid that much development of supply chain systems is done in that way. We look at existing processes instead of imagining how the processes and the whole scenario could be different. And once we’ve imagined the new world, we can see that the systems have to be different.

So the message to supply chain firms is to put on your imagining cap and plan systems that actually make quantum improvements; done just band-aid the old processes.

WRITTEN BY LORA CECERE• NOVEMBER 3, 2021• 3:04 PM• ANALYTICS, BIG DATA SUPPLY CHAINS

The Big Supply Chain Analytics Failure – Supply Chain Shaman