Shippers & Freight Forwarders
Be a champion of change
The top 3 ways DCSA standards can make your life easier:
- Enable access to standardised shipping data from multiple carriers that’s easy to integrate into your solutions
- Enable two-way, real-time data communication across the end-to-end container journey via standardised APIs
- Allow you to focus on innovation instead of spending resources aggregating, sanitising and digitalising shipment data
As the direct customer of ocean carriers, you play an important role in digital transformation of the container shipping industry. Ultimately, it is up to you to dictate what service levels are acceptable and what aren’t. But it takes accurate, timely data, consistently supplied by your transport partners to enable you to measure the service levels you received. This is made possible through the development of digital data standards.
Recently, we’ve become aware that Walmart penned an open letter to its carrier partners informing them that they are moving away from EDI towards standardised digital APIs for data communication, which they believe will facilitate greater visibility, accuracy and reliability. We suggest that it’s time to follow their example and help container shipping catch up with more digitalised industries like banking and the airlines. Join our movement to enable a better customer experience and ask your ocean carrier to adopt DCSA open-source standards now.
It’s all about the data
What Walmart appears to understand is that improving service levels in container shipping is all about the data. Currently, the reason container shipping is unreliable, and the reason you have no visibility into processes, timetables and events is because of the unavailability of data.
Making data more available requires data standards. First, to create common definitions and frameworks for digitalising the data, and second, to establish standardised protocols for communicating it. Without standardisation, you can have all the data you want, but it may be unusable or incomprehensible to other systems, which means it can’t flow freely from stakeholder to stakeholder across the container journey.
Some of you may be thinking, “That may be true, but bad data in does more harm than good.” And you’re right. A lot of the data floating around out there is bad. And that will have to change. Part of the reason for all the bad data is reliance on manual reporting and inefficient processes that introduce errors and delays. Other common causes are a lack of interoperability and non-real-time data sharing, which create gaps in visibility that make it difficult to spot problem areas.
Standardising data handling practices is equivalent to installing modern plumbing in a city. Without it, good quality water – in this case, accurate and actionable data – simply cannot flow freely to every household.
Where DCSA and its digital standards fit in
There are 3 fundamental ways in which data handling needs to improve in container shipping:
- Data needs to address the requirements of different industry stakeholders, especially the customers of ocean carriers
- Data needs to be digitalised in a standard way
- Data needs to be a communicated in a common way, in real time
DCSA is addressing all 3 of these needs. Check out this e-book for more details.
With DCSA standards in place, the industry will have a technological foundation for enabling two-way, real-time communication across the end-to-end container journey. Of course, our standards alone can’t ensure that every piece of data input into the system is good or current, or that everyone will adopt them. But without DCSA standards, moving towards greater visibility and more reliable services is impossible.
Standards for all!
Shippers and carriers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from a technology foundation based on DCSA digital standards. Once standardised data is available via standard APIs, everyone who has adopted the standards can make use of it. This will enable solutions providers, freight forwarders, terminal operators, drayage providers and other third parties to build apps that provide new value to shippers.
DCSA digital standards provide a necessary technological foundation for digital innovation that will ultimately make container transportation services more transparent, reliable, easy to use, secure and environmentally friendly. If you are a customer of ocean carriers or work closely with container shipping, your involvement in the standardisation process is crucial to transforming this industry. Consider this your invitation to collaborate with us!