Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Internet of Things Shipping Containers Connectivity Standards Published

With IoT Technologies the Box Industry Moves Into the 21st Century
Shipping News Feature

NETHERLANDS – WORLDWIDE – One body which has not let the grass grow under its feet during lockdown is the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) which, having made a loud call for a move to the digitalisation of Bills of Lading recently, has now published its Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity interface standards for shipping containers. The standards can be implemented by vessel operators and owners as well as ports, terminals, container yards, inland logistics providers and other third parties to ensure interoperability between smart container solutions at the radio interface level.

Compiled in conjunction with its nine member carriers, the DCSA says with these standards in place, carriers and supply chain participants will be one step closer to providing customers with an uninterrupted flow of relevant information regarding the whereabouts of containers and the status of their contents at any point along the container journey. This is one of many initiatives to be put forth by DCSA to accelerate digitalisation through a unified industry effort.

The DCSA IoT Standard for Gateway Connectivity Interfaces, which can be freely downloaded from the DCSA website, includes radio standards for gateways on vessel, on land, at event locations and in handheld devices. These DCSA IoT standards provide an initial set of connectivity recommendations that are vendor and platform agnostic to reduce investment risk, increase operational efficiency and enable innovation. Ultimately, DCSA IoT standards will allow carriers and other supply chain participants to focus on providing more valuable services and a better experience to their customers.

The new standards are the first of three planned IoT standards releases addressing the connectivity requirements for reefer and dry containers, as well as the RFID registration of these containers. Future releases will focus on data structure and handling, physical device specifications as well as security and access management. Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli, Chief of Trade Facilitation Section for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), commented:

“IoT will usher in a new era of efficiency in global trade. Smart containers that share information with multiple stakeholders will facilitate a digitally enabled supply chain. This will greatly increase efficiency and transparency, improve the quality of shipped goods, reduce waste across the board, and raise safety and security levels.

“Interoperability of IoT devices is one of the keys to enable massive smart containers deployment, taking the digital age of shipping one step further beyond paperless processes by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to support enhanced decision-making by the various sectoral stakeholders.

”This standards release by DCSA is very important and complementary with the UN/CEFACT interoperability standards, namely the Multi Modal Transport Data Reference Model and the Smart Container Business Requirement Specifications in particular. I believe that these standards will play an important role in aligning the industry in terms of IoT interoperability.”

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) is a subsidiary, intergovernmental body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) which serves as a focal point within the United Nations Economic and Social Council for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards.

DCSA member carriers are representative of some of the biggest names in the trade including MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM, and Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA, observed:

“We are thrilled to be introducing our first set of IoT standards for the industry, this release is an important step in enabling mass deployment of smart containers and forms the foundation of a group of standards that will address the industry’s most critical container use cases. Once implemented, our IoT standards will enable, for example, reefer container tracking, monitoring and controlling along the entire container journey, with no connectivity ‘blind spots’.

”This will provide more value to the end customer while increasing the efficiency of container operations. Equally as important, we’re giving the industry a framework for interoperability that will allow stakeholders to create innovative IoT solutions that can be leveraged by any industry stakeholder, market supplier or service provider.”

The set of proposed DCSA Standards Initiatives can be downloaded HERE whilst the free to download IoT Container Standards can be seen HERE.