Freight Data Exchange Pilots

This project investigates and develops methods and systems to enable freight consignment event and message information to be shared, in real-time, across supply chain partners, (and with government) to better inform transport operations, infrastructure planning and freight policy.

This project contributes to the Hub’s purposes of meeting the Foundation Enduring Questions:

  • What freight is being moved, to, from, and around Australia?
  • Where is freight being moved?
  • How is freight being moved?
  • How can we enhance supply chain visibility?
  • What and where are the physical and regulatory bottlenecks and barriers for the efficient and safe movement of freight?
  • How well are Australia’s freight transport networks performing?
  • What and where are the opportunities for freight movements to be more efficient and safe?

This project was funded as part of the commitment under the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to support better freight location and performance data. Freight Data Exchange projects with industry will create the standards needed to track goods and demonstrate the use cases for sharing data in different supply chains. This will support real-time industry access to freight data.

Information technology and data are increasingly essential to modern business operations. Increasing digitalisation of supply chain processes and freight consignment information offers opportunities to increase the efficiency and productivity of Australian freight supply chains.

For industry, increasing digitalisation can improve visibility of freight consignments and interoperability between supply chain partners, and aid industry in responding to supply chain delays, bottlenecks or errors – and thereby improve overall freight industry efficiency and productivity. For governments and transport planning agencies, the increasing digitalisation of freight supply chain information can potentially provide timelier strategic-level information to help inform planning and investment, and at less cost.

In 2019-20, the Australian Government, in cooperation with iMOVE and selected industry partners, undertook an initial round of Freight Data Exchange pilot projects to investigate, develop and demonstrate the capability for supply chain partners to share freight consignment information in real time and also assess the feasibility of aggregating freight consignment event/message data to produce aggregate outputs that help inform infrastructure planning and policy priorities.

This project contributes to the Hub’s purposes of supporting industry’s day-to-day operational decisions and also providing information to help better inform transport infrastructure planning and freight policy.

Three concurrent freight data exchange pilots were undertaken in 2019-20, and two key lessons were learnt:

  1. There are multiple data standards and information systems in use across freight and logistics and associated industries, and it can be difficult to match freight consignment records across the different information systems.
  2. Freight consignment data can be readily aggregated to provide strategic-level information that can help inform infrastructure planning, network operations and freight policy.

Using freight consignment data to provide aggregated outputs to inform planning

Left most image depictes two routes that can be taken to transport freight. Right most image shows a bar chart representing total freight volume (tonnes) versus cargo. The several cargo options are: Document (15 - 20), Frozen (25-30), General (35+), Hazardous (20-25) and Liquid (20-25)

Two follow-up pilots are being undertaken in 2020-21:

  1. A survey of the freight and supply chain industry sector in order to gather a broader picture of supply chain information technology systems and communication protocols currently in use across Australia (in cooperation with iMOVE and GS1). The freight and supply chain survey is planned to be undertaken in 2021, with results to be available in December 2021.
  2. Engaging with additional industry partners that have a high priority interest in real-time freight supply chain information exchange (for example time sensitive and perishable commodities) to help develop methods and systems to enable real-time sharing of freight consignment event/message across supply chain partners. Engagement with additional industry partners is planned to be undertaken in early 2021.

This project is establishing the industry relationships, data standards and protocols, and testing exchanges, to identify message protocols and data standards that will allow future data transfers between industry partners and (in aggregate) to governments for improved decision making across operations, planning and investment, and benchmarking.