1.       Introduction and background

A wide range of software systems have been developed in recent years, aimed at providing solutions to shipping lines, leasing companies, depots and terminals to manage their container operations more efficiently.

The systems are intended for a number of different container activities, including:

  •        Global tracking of containers (all types)
  •        Telematics for monitoring special containers, including reefers and tanks
  •        Security

One of the issues facing the industry is to find technology to permit the different systems to communicate with each other. The increase of partner shipping lines using the same vessel along with shipper owned container requires a level of commonality.

These issues were raised at the 21st COA Meeting in Singapore (June 2018) and the first Work Group took place during the 22nd COA Members Meeting in Rotterdam (November 2018).

Relevant stakeholders were invited to provide comments and feedback – and to suggest items for discussion on the Meeting Agenda.

2.       Establishing the Work Group and Defining the Objectives

  •         One of the first WG items discussed at the WG was to establish its objectives. At this stage, the role of the COA is to provide a neutral platform, permitting the stakeholders to meet, discuss the issues that they are facing – and agree how to proceed.
  •         Depending on how successful this is, the next stage might be to develop industry-agreed Guidelines – Eventually, it could lead to standards, perhaps within the scope of ISO work group.

3.       Telematics interoperability standard for containers (July 2019 Update)

The COA Telematics/Track Trace Work Group is now working to develop an open standard (at the application layer level) to permit interoperability of telematics device data from the various solution providers in the maritime shipping sector.

The open standard, which will start with refrigerated containers, but then be expanded to cover all container types, will pave the way for all container owners to have multiple choices of vendors and platforms for their container fleets when choosing telematics systems. This will reduce risk and provide a more competitive and innovative marketplace of solutions to be explored and deployed.

The aim of this new open standard is to allow container owners, in due course, to explore more complex IT, Artificial Intelligence and even Blockchain applications to bring efficiencies and cost savings.

The first step of this open standard is at the application layer, but the COA Work Group has also drawn up a roadmap to be expanded right down to the device level in terms of specification. The open standard is scheduled to be published in October 2019

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