Insights - January/February 2018 - 15
DATA - from page 13
Adam Compain, CEO, ClearMetal
"The issue is not that there is not
enough information shared between
the parties intermodally. It is that the
data doesn't fully make sense or isn't
usable by the parties who need to have
it. A network of data is important, but
what is more important is how you as
a user make sense of the information.
That really requires finding different methodology for treating
data - automatically interpreting it, correcting it, cleaning it up
and normalizing it.
"We actually are in year one of what many in the industry are
calling the 'digital transformation'. It is no surprise that companies are leaning in and distancing themselves from competitors
through information quality. Some are hesitating and will be left
behind. We see people all along that digital spectrum."
Shippers, and in particular retailers, as well as 3PLs generally
have been the most progressive, Compain said, because they
are in more direct contact with end-user customers who rely on
timely information. He believes ocean carriers have to be as aggressive in problem-solving as a mobile phone provider does with
a customer whose device is balky.
There still are issues with service providers' ability to share
the most updated information, Compain said, largely because
data wasn't a priority and wasn't widely shared as the industry
That approach forced customers to use buffer stock to
compensate. With the advent of "the Amazon effect," he said
companies are being forced to keep operations leaner, and
freight providers must adjust. That required a priority shift toward
software development instead of building more infrastructure in
ports and elsewhere.
Stephen Bindbeutel, IT solutions analyst, Coyote Logistics
"Many shippers, carriers and intermediaries use obsolete
systems to manage their supply chain. Though some utilize
sophisticated TMS applications, EDI and API connections, the
majority of the industry relies on phone calls, emails and faxes.
Over the past few years, newer companies solely focused on
integrating diverse systems have helped to bridge some of the
communication gap. Further improvements will likely require
widespread adoption of integration systems and/or the use of
more comprehensive technologies - i.e., blockchain solutions.
"Everyone is clamoring for more data, but considering the
sheer volume of available information, it's easy to be overwhelmed by it. With the number of drivers, devices, pieces of
equipment, facilities, etc. connected to the internet, a single
intermodal shipment can easily generate thousands of unique
data points. Companies that can translate that data into clear,
concise insights will drive efficiency, both internally and to the
wider transportation industry. Companies that can't will just have
a lot of data.
"In many regards, the transportation industry has not been at
the forefront of new technology investment and adoption. That
said, EDI integration between railroad providers, carriers and
intermediaries has definitely been a bright spot. There has also
been a lot of progress in online tracking capabilities, with many
carriers providing real-time, on-demand shipment updates.
"Technological advancement within one mode is not mutually exclusive to progress in others. Most shippers and carriers
are fully aware that manual, inefficient processes leave them
extremely vulnerable to savvier competition, and are making the
requisite IT investments."
Brian Sepe, director of brokerage pricing and solutions,
"Although Intermodal providers have been slower to adopt
technology than LTL and TL partners, there has been significant
movement in terms of integrating directly via EDI and or API to
provide real-time spot pricing and tracking updates.
"Providers will need to further invest in their own infrastructure to ensure information is free-flowing or look to partner with
rail specific third party technology vendors.
"GlobalTranz is leveraging API and EDI integration methods
from the carrier directly and through third party vendors. Our
integration team focuses on obtaining the most accurate and
efficient data, the method of data transport is agnostic.
"Any technology that reduces the number of websites visited,
or phone calls made to provide real-time information is invaluable. In the current marketplace, customers' demand information
visibility is at an all-time high and the expectation to deliver this
information is a requirement for competing in the intermodal
Harald Fritz, vice president, and
Joseph Cook, product manager,
"Ocean, ports and rail historically
share information via EDI and user
account portals. There is a slow progress to improve or collaborate. New
technologies are popping up to help
shippers and carriers with freight visibility, efficient scheduling and rating.
"There are some systems that are
being developed that enhance freight visibility across modal
lines, particularly between ocean and rail carriers. There also
are TMS that optimize rating and routing among all modes of
"In the past all sort of tools were used to exchange data between companies. The costs of this integration had to be realized
by two parties for it to make sense. The saving and costs had to
be negotiated. Thus, the process was always painful.
"Across the industry the need for data is trumping the manual
cost savings. Intermediaries see the potential and are stepping in
to make this exchange of data more and more seamless and less
painful. Sure, a lot of it is still visibility driven, but the end game is
the data. The technology already exists, but industry standards
need to be put in place.
"The piece that has to come into the picture is getting the information on the container while it is on the ocean. If the cargo is
valuable enough, you can have a beacon with telematics. But that
isn't perfect because if the cargo is far below deck the information may not be retrievable."
January/February 2018 | Intermodal Insights
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Insights - January/February 2018
Service, Capacity, Innovation Focus Will Help to Sustain Intermodal Progress
Intermodal Moves Toward ‘Digitization’ of Data
Ocean Carriers Focus on Continued Adjustment to Global Freight Network
Voice of the Shipper
Intermodal Industry Participants Stand to Gain from Tax Bill
Early Days of ELD Mandate Seem to Indicate Adjustment Period
International Intermodal News
Insights - January/February 2018 - Cover1
Insights - January/February 2018 - 2
Insights - January/February 2018 - 3
Insights - January/February 2018 - IANA News
Insights - January/February 2018 - 5
Insights - January/February 2018 - 6
Insights - January/February 2018 - 7
Insights - January/February 2018 - Service, Capacity, Innovation Focus Will Help to Sustain Intermodal Progress
Insights - January/February 2018 - 9
Insights - January/February 2018 - 10
Insights - January/February 2018 - 11
Insights - January/February 2018 - 12
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Moves Toward ‘Digitization’ of Data
Insights - January/February 2018 - 14
Insights - January/February 2018 - 15
Insights - January/February 2018 - Ocean Carriers Focus on Continued Adjustment to Global Freight Network
Insights - January/February 2018 - 17
Insights - January/February 2018 - 18
Insights - January/February 2018 - Freight Report
Insights - January/February 2018 - 20
Insights - January/February 2018 - Voice of the Shipper
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Industry Participants Stand to Gain from Tax Bill
Insights - January/February 2018 - 23
Insights - January/February 2018 - Early Days of ELD Mandate Seem to Indicate Adjustment Period
Insights - January/February 2018 - 25
Insights - January/February 2018 - 26
Insights - January/February 2018 - Government News
Insights - January/February 2018 - New Members
Insights - January/February 2018 - International Intermodal News
Insights - January/February 2018 - 30
Insights - January/February 2018 - 31
Insights - January/February 2018 - Intermodal Calendar