Ocean Carrier EDI

The Air Freight community as a whole can now benefit from the unilateral Airline EDI system that was established by the Cargo 2000 initiative. But sadly, to date the Ocean community has been unable to establish a single body that can steer the industry in a similar direction. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that Airline EDI is primarily based around the Air Waybill, which is of course a standardised document for all air shipments. Unfortunately, the Ocean freight industry is less cohesive – documentation is diverse and there is no single standard, which presents a significant challenge in the context of data exchange. As a result, until recently, for the most part EDI solutions between carriers and their customers have been bilateral.

However, there have been some promising developments, with the establishment of trade “portals”. These provide integration services, enabling carriers and their customers to exchange shipping information. One of the leading portals, INTTRA, is carrier-sponsored while another, GT Nexus, is privately owned. As at mid-2004, 35 carriers were registered between the two. With the number of participants moving progressively upwards, based on this model it finally appears that the Ocean community may be making progress in the arena of data exchange.

In response to these exciting new developments, FCL has developed its Ocean Carrier EDI module. The option to exchange data is switched on within ForwardOffice on an carrier-by-carrier basis. Where the carrier requires data exchange, additional options are triggered within Ocean Freight Operations that allow additional Ocean Bill-related information to be entered at movement level.

Overall, the facility allows shippers and agents to submit Shipping Instructions to carriers, via Although based on a different message protocol, many underlying features are shared between this module and its sister Airline EDI module. In particular, it complements FCL’s Consignment Tracking and Event Management module and e-Commerce offerings.

Key Features:

  • Fully accredited by INTTRA and GT Nexus
  • Free transmission – carriers fund the portals
  • Activated selectively for participating carriers
  • Shipping Instructions messages generated manually, or automatically via Event Management
  • Messages can optionally include commodity information for AMS requirements
  • Carriers return a variety of Status Update messages to you
  • You configure the effect that each type of status message will have on the shipment to which it relates:
    • Optionally update the consignment’s “Diary/Memo” with appropriate narrative
    • Log a non-conformance code against the consignment, optionally integrating with the Quality Control module
    • Update a consignment “Milestone” date
    • Send a notification message to the relevant user (e.g. Post-Shipment)
    • Perform a full “Post-Shipment Confirmation” update
    • Even perform a POD update
  • Optional integration with Consignment Tracking and Event Management:
    • When specific “Milestones” are completed, various “Events” can be optionally triggered for different parties
    • Generates pre-defined or user-defined output via print Fax or E-mail
    • Includes the output of EDI Consignment Booking or Status update messages
    • In this scenario, ForwardOffice can act as a “message switch”
  • Optional integration with WebTrack – information automatically becomes visible on the Web for any of the involved parties to view, anywhere in the world
  • Optional integration with ForwardVision Order management module