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How Data Can Speed Container Delivery

The Federal Maritime Commission is trying to pinpoint how data can help speed the flow of containers through the supply chain.

The multi-phased effort is proposing “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,” according to the FMC.

Initial findings are expected to be presented at a maritime data summit next spring.

“Events of the past year have proven the need for the United States to achieve more capacity from our cargo delivery system,” said FMC Chairman Dan Maffei. “Information sharing and additional transparency in how containers move is one way we can move more containers more efficiently.”

The initiative marks the latest effort by the FMC to address supply chain efficiency and congestion.

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 that there is a need to develop a stronger system of information for the shipping industry.

The agency will work with the transportation industry to boost transparency around international freight systems. US 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.

(Ref. American Shipper November 15, 2021)



Nearly all container shipping trades are hit by congestion.

Of all the trade lanes covered, most trades showed a significant increase in delays in September this year compared to a baseline of 2016 – 2019, indicating that the congestion problems leading to delays are indeed prevalent globally and not isolated to just a few significant vital trades.

In an update on its Fiscal Year 2021 Q2 initiatives, companies continued to see bottleneck constraints as a result of land-side labor shortages and high consumer and industrial demand for products.

Hundreds of ships waiting around the world at anchor is the “effect” (and not the “cause”) of such inland logistics bottlenecks backing up into the port infrastructure. The land-side supply chain challenges appear to be somewhat universal, but North America and Europe seem to be the most significantly impacted.

The industry saw an improvement in the first half of 2021 over the same period in 2020. It could have carried more cargo had it not been forced to pause Asia sailings due to heavily delayed vessels returning from elsewhere. As things stand in Q3 and Q4 2021, we see no major improvement in the current situation so far.

Shipping backups at big U.S. ports are not likely to resolve themselves until well into 2022, according to economists. Though, the problems should lessen after the holidays and Lunar New Year as container traffic backs off.

Companies have been left to find ways to keep their products moving amid the supply chain disruptions. Some of these solutions include services like the ones we at Precision Global Logistics offer.

Shipping a container through major U.S. ports now takes triple the time it usually does. President Joe Biden tried to fix the problem by ordering ports to stay open 24 hours, but it has only helped at the margins. Ongoing labor shortages and a lack of coordination among the multiple players in the U.S. supply chain blunt the effect of the move.