Standardisation initiatives

Industry Blueprint, creating a common language in container shipping

For many years customers have requested more transparency in the services provided so that shipping follows a similar process for all carriers. To enable transparency and facilitate collaboration in the shipping industry, we embarked on a foundational project to align our processes in a blueprint.

This is an important step to facilitate standards creation and enable digitisation.


The Industry Blueprint (IBP) is a living document where all processes commonly used in container shipping are mapped out and validated by carriers. It includes high level process maps on three types of journeys: shipment, equipment and vessel. By aligning on the meaning of “vessel arrival”, for example, we have agreed on the definition of specific transport events for customer track and trace purposes.

Alignment of data definitions and interfaces

Information and data are critical for the container shipping industry not only for use within the individual liner carriers, but also for sharing vital updates across the industry. Today the data landscape in the industry is complex. Carriers, customers and third parties use many different technologies, data definitions and data exchange methods when communicating with each other.



To reach alignment, we have developed a shared data language and logical data model for the container shipping industry, called the “DCSA Information Model”.


It will serve as the foundational data language for the industry. The Information Model is based on the business terms defined in the Blueprint and has been mapped by DCSA against other popular data models and IT standards. This mapping is key because it will ensure that we speak the same business and data language across standards.

IoT standards for container shipping

The objective here is to provide a reliable basis for DCSA members to share requirements and specifications for IoT solutions installed on containers, such as GPS tracking and smart containers. By establishing a framework of standards, we aim to enable scalability of IoT solutions as well as ensuring operational efficiencies and interoperability between carriers.

To achieve these goals, we have defined two tracks for this project:


1. Network Connectivity

2. Devices & Gateways


The Network Connectivity track addresses the communication technology layers of IoT solutions. We expect to complete these standards by May 2020.

The Devices & Gateways track will be kicked off in 2020, focusing on defining the properties of IoT devices mounted on the container and gateways in terminals, warehouses and vessels.

Cyber security onboard ships

In an age where IT and operational technology is increasingly connected and automated, the ability to prevent cyber attacks is a core competency every carrier must have – on shore and onboard ships.


The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted a resolution that cyber risks should be appropriately addressed in safety management systems no later than the first annual verification of a company’s Document of Compliance, starting on 1 January 2021.

This means every carrier must prepare an implementation framework to address cyber risks onboard ships during 2020.


To help carriers meet this timeline, we have kicked off the cyber security initiative to facilitate framework creation and provide best practice guidance to carriers. The implementation consists of a series of practical recommendations wrapped around the NIST Framework which is the recognised authority on cyber risk management.