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DOC to Promote Port Community Systems to Address Supply Chain Congestion

Monday, September 05, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Commerce announced Aug. 31 that it is planning to launch a national competition to help U.S. seaports and stakeholders develop and use port information-sharing technologies, also known as port community systems. DOC states that such IT platforms enable enhanced stakeholder awareness of cargo flow and port operating status and that helping interested U.S. ports and stakeholders to develop such systems would improve port operating efficiency, enable faster cargo flow, reduce port and supply chain congestion, and allow U.S. port stakeholders to better handle new container mega-vessels that will soon begin to arrive at West Coast and other U.S. seaports on a regular basis. DOC notes that port community systems are often deployed successfully at non-U.S. ports, providing them with a competitive advantage.

The competition will involve teams consisting of port users, technology developers, and other stakeholders to develop prototypes for open-source port community system platforms. These prototypes will need to utilize the maritime cargo status data elements recommended by DOC’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness and ensure the secure sharing of this data within the stakeholder communities of specific ports. DOC plans to hold a Demo Day in November that will enable teams to demonstrate their prototypes for interested port and supply chain communities. 

DOC states that it will share the results of the competition with ports and supply chain stakeholders to improve their awareness of effective platforms that they can use and implement at their discretion, recognizing that ports may select other options or continue to utilize existing systems based on local circumstances. The results of the competition will also be shared as part of a best practices report that DOC will publish in December.

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