In December 2021, the Chairman of The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), Daniel B. Maffei appointed Commissioner Carl Bentzel to spearhead an initiative of the FMC to focus on identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo adding to supply chain inefficiencies in the USA.
As per the FMC, “This project will aim to establish data standards and best practices for data access and transmission essential for a reliable and stable ocean transportation system.”
Starting in December, through the first half of 2022, Commissioner Bentzel will convene a series of meetings with maritime and intermodal stakeholders with initial findings presented at a data summit to be hosted by the FMC in the spring of 2022.
The kick-off meeting is on the 7th of December and features information on the current need for data transparency to improve supply chain transparency and create greater efficiencies in the movement of cargo. The next meeting will happen on the 14th of December 2021.
These meetings will be open to the public and can be viewed live on the links posted by the FMC or on this site.
“Identifying data constraints that impede the flow of ocean cargo and add to supply chain inefficiencies will be the focus of this initiative as this will effort will be critical to pinpointing how data can contribute to the long-term reliability of the domestic cargo delivery system,” said a release from the FMC.
This initiative will 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.
“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,” said Chairman Maffei.
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 maritime 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 the 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.
“I have already met with many port industry leaders and stakeholders around our coastlines, and the topic of reliable, actionable operational shipping information to help more efficiently move cargo was one of the foremost topics of concern. When you go through a U.S. airport you know how and where to park your car, you know that you will be transported to the airport terminal, when you get to the terminal you will be provided information on your gate and information about when your plane will depart and land, adequate personnel are available to handle luggage and run it through security throughout this process, and it is repeated at landing. The maritime industry does not have a similar system in place.
Given the immense national economic impact and our Nation’s reliance on ocean shipping, sustained surges in cargo volumes, and other operational impacts caused by COVID-19, it is clear to me that we need to develop a stronger system of information for the shipping public. The FMC will work with the industry to develop greater systems of transparency for services surrounding the international intermodal transportation of goods. Our port gateway corridors are limited by physical constraints and the best options for efficiencies lie with the greater utilization of information technologies and coordination between the different modes in the supply chain,” said Commissioner Bentzel.