Integration in data-sharing necessary, say executives

Industry Database

Ports need to get better at data-sharing, or risk creating "digital islands" that don't communicate, a digital specialist has warned.

Commenting on a current lack of integration regarding data-sharing, Alexander Goulandris, co-founder and chief executive of essDOCS, said: “All we’ve done is move from a solution that prints out paper to digital islands that equally don’t communicate.”

Speaking at TOC Europe, he added that what the market has now is independent platforms that simply talk about collaboration. “If you’ve got to log in to one collaboration tool to do this piece of your supply chain and another collaboration tool to do that piece of the supply chain, we end up with the same nightmare that disparate solutions have.”

Mr Goulandris said that integration and data-sharing has to come the industry will not be able to digitise. “Over time people will realise that combining data adds more value than being independent but I think we are a long way away from that realisation.”

Part of the problem, he said, is that too many stakeholders overvalue their data: “Most data in the supply chain is not unique. A freight forwarder knows what’s going on a container ship, the port knows what’s going on the container ship, the container line knows what’s going on the container ship … there’s a lot of people who actually have the same information.

“It’s not that there isn’t the information. The problem is the information has to be re-entered in so many damn systems.”

With regards to whether regulators could and should take a greater role in forcing digitalisation and better sharing of data upon the industry, Andrew Zerk, director at New Dimensionz, said: “This whole concept of regulators and their role is something that, I think, the industry really does need to invest some time and thought in because it isn’t a zero-sum game.”

In terms of data sharing, Mr Zerk said that the industry needs to find a middle ground in terms of holding on to confidential data and finding data that could be shared.

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