Freight Data Standards

Data standardisation reduces barriers for data exchange between freight operators, improving the visibility of freight movements and increasing the efficiency of Australia's supply chains. A key barrier to improved use of data in the freight system is the inability to properly compare and aggregate data sources due to unstandardised data.

This project aims to address three key problems caused by unstandardised freight data:

  1. Supply chain participants employ different data standards for internal use, making data exchange between participants for day-to-day operations complex and inefficient.
  2. Strategic planning and evaluation of Australia's freight and supply chains are hindered by a lack of consistency in data standards between data users and providers, including government, industry and academia.
  3. Participation and competitiveness in international supply chains is impaired when data standards are not adopted as data exchange becomes very limited.

This project will initially focus on understanding what freight data standards are in use across Australia, as well as evaluating and reviewing international best practice for data standardisation. Once the evaluation is complete, the project will examine potential paths forward to standardisation of data.

It contributes to the enduring questions 1, 2 and 7.

Please contact us if you would like to be updated on, or involved in, the development of this project.


  • Uptake of data standards by governments will make Commonwealth and states and territory data more consistent and able to be readily combined for national-level evaluation and strategic planning activities.
  • Freight data through the supply chain will become more available, timely and useful as a result of industry uptake of common data standards and data sharing protocols.
  • Improved efficiency of data sharing results in supply chain participants and other stakeholders sharing more data than before, meaning:
    • Improved supply chain transparency allows customers to be better informed about provenance of goods, and bottlenecks to be more easily identified as well as more efficient operational day-to-day outcomes.
    • Data standards facilitates the bringing together of disparate data sets. This will enable improved data products for government, industry, and researchers.
  • Uptake of data standards will make it easier to work with international supply chains, increasing the international competitiveness of Australian imports and exports.

This project contributes to the Hub's purposes of supporting industry's day-to-day operational decisions, providing information to help better inform transport infrastructure planning and freight policy and to evaluate the performance of Australia's freight system.

Initially Planned Outputs

  1. An evaluation study identifying: the data standards currently in place in the freight data ecosystem: challenges resulting from unstandardised data; highest priority actions; other initiatives driving standardisation of freight data currently underway in Australia and international best practice. Recommendations on: the role industry and government may take in mandating standards; the role of the Hub in progressing freight data standards; a timeline for actions over the next four years, and potential “easy wins” for early action.
  2. Stakeholder consultation to identify in-depth outcomes required of standards, how to achieve those outcomes through standards, what the best form for standards is, and how to adjust standards for different modes and data priorities.
  3. Fact sheets on freight and supply chain standards including international examples of freight data standards. These will contain links to examples of best practice in data standards to build consensus over time.

Related data projects:

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