Intermodal Global Door-to-Door Container Supply Chain Visibility
The INTEGRITY project aims at significant improvements of the reliability and predictability of global door-to-door container transports by optimizing the cooperation between transport industry and customs Authorities in the China-EU trade corridor. The consolidation of data will significantly improve the transparency of the transport chain. At the same time the container security will be significantly improved, for example by providing access to reliable sources of consignment information.
The core of the project is the development of the Shared Intermodal Container Information System (SICIS) allowing authorized companies and authorities to access planning and status information of selected consignments. The challenge of SICIS is the combination of existing technologies and new business processes together with legal and administrative agreements. Proactive planning according to the Supply Chain Event Management (SCEM) approach allows problems to be forecast well before they might occur. Matching logistics data with security information including data from electronic seals, container security devices and scanning equipment as well as the integration of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) concept, are basic measures.
In September 2009 - after a project duration of one year - the IT platform SICIS started to track containers along the entire logistics chain by consolidating all relevant data and related events which are generated during the transport. Since then SICIS regularly monitors containers during their door-to-door transport from China to Europe. As an example, interfaces to terminal operating systems were developed in order to feed terminal messages into the system. Another important feature is linking the container monitoring data with AIS vessel tracking information provided by satellites. An important SICIS feature especially for customs is the possibility to upload consignment data, which can be used by customs to further optimize risk assessment processes.
SICIS is an open IT platform. It can easily be adapted to any trade lane worldwide. Due to its sophisticated interfacing possibilities, there are practically no limitations in data exchange with other systems. Amongst others, interfaces to platforms like the EU projects Smart-CM dealing with similar aspects of container visibility and CHINOS addressing the issue of RFID in container logistics were developed. Furthermore, data exchange with new cooperation partners like DP World was established, the latter being the second of the worldwide leading terminal operators implementing data exchange with SICIS in addition to project partner Hutchison Port Holdings.
SICIS is able to interact with any kind of Container Security Device (CSD). Interfaces to CSD provider Savi Networks and China-based CIMC and Long Sun were developed, negotiations with several further CSD providers are in progress. CSDs are responsible for initiating the container monitoring by sending a “start journey” event when the container doors are closed and for sending security events such as “door opened” to SICIS. Furthermore, CSDs provide regular updates of the container position by using GPS. However, it should be noted that the INTEGRITY approach is in no way dependent on CSD use. Equipping each and every container with a CSD in the near future is unlikely. Therefore, SICIS is still capable of monitoring conventional containers not equipped with a CSD.
Altogether customs and shippers/3PLs are satisfied in one integrated approach. Several recent investigations show that the enhancement of Supply Chain Visibility provides significant benefits for all participants in the chain, both industry and customs. The INTEGRITY project is funded by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme for Research & Development and liaises with several EU Directorates.