FMC to look into maritime supply chain data-sharing

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced on Monday November 15th a new initiative aimed at identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies.

The FMC said that the investigation would be led by Commissioner Carl W Bentzel and that it would be critical to pinpointing how the use of data could contribute to “the long-term reliability of the domestic cargo delivery system.”

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

FMC Chairman Daniel B Maffei said that “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”.

The FMC said that “over the course of the project Commissioner Bentzel will conduct research, interviews, round tables, and hold public meetings to inform the “status quo” in maritime data. He 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 are the critical data elements used by each supply chain party. Ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, truckers, railroads, and other government agencies are among those who will be invited to provide insight about data definitions, classification, and recommendations for improving interoperability of data records involving container shipping. Input from the Commission’s National Shipper Advisory Committee may also be solicited as part of the project. Initial deliverables will include a data inventory and recommendations for common standards.”

The first public meeting with Commissioner Bentzel is scheduled to take place in December in Washington DC. The FMC said that planned speakers would include representatives from the Biden Administration, data experts, “standards setting specialists,” and representatives from FMC’s National Shippers Advisory Committee. Initial findings will be presented at a Maritime Data Summit in Spring 2022.