The Federal Maritime Commission is accepting comments through Oct. 16 on issues related to maritime data transmission, accessibility, and accuracy.

Cargo in international trade moves between the control of numerous entities, the FMC states, and while some key data elements are readily shared between supply chain participants, the lack of timely and accurate access to others can lead to inefficiencies. Additionally, the lack of data standardization reduces the ability to move cargo in an effective way. The FMC believes that improving communication and data availability could improve supply chain effectiveness and efficiency by helping to reduce congestion, accelerate import and export shipments, and reduce storage fees and cargo holds.

Earlier this year FMC Commissioner Carl Bentzel recommended a new maritime transportation data system that would establish a mandatory standard for providing data on ocean carrier vessel operations and arrivals, intermodal rail arrivals and departures, and access and restrictions into and out of both marine and intermodal rail facilities. This recommendation was made as part of broader FMC efforts to address port congestion and other issues that have slowed the transportation of imported and exported goods in recent years.

The FMC is now seeking additional information from the shipping public on issues related to maritime data availability, accuracy, and exchange. Specific topics on which comments are being sought include carrier concerns about providing additional data to shippers and cargo owners, how shippers can better predict container availability, and the data points that are most important for importers and exporters to have accurately and in advance.

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