Standards are the traditional route to interoperability. It is generally accepted that standardisation lowers barriers to entry into an industry and operational costs for users. The drawback is that international standards such as ISO or the equivalent European CEN standards take too long to be developed, but the situation has substantially improved in recent years.
A number of national initiatives on freight messages and transport labels to guarantee interoperability are based on the ‘standard messages or specifications’ approach. In Finland TIEKE promotes and develops international trade procedures, in Norway Norstella has developed Transport-XML , an XML based standard for electronic collaboration within and/or with the transport and forwarding industry utilising the ebXML standard recently extended in the Marco Polo Short Sea XML. Shortsea XML is based on UN CEFACT and is an open standard freely available to all parties.
Currently accepted in UBL 2.1 standard for transport are the Freightwise Transport Execution Plan – TEP, Transport Execution Status – TES, Transport Operation status – TOS.
Also the GS1 LIM (Logistics Interoperability Model) provides an important development in this area.
There are also tools that facilitate the exchange of customized messages of different information protocols (XML, EDIFACT, Excel TXT etc) using different communication protocols (WBS, EDI, email, FTP, etc) through a ‘mediator’ tool supported by generic info structures such as those developed in Freightwise.
Another area important to e-Maritime is communications standards. Satellite communications are as constrained and shaped by policy, regulatory and standards issues as by the technology. The e-Maritime initiative will need to establish links with the standardization committee in this area such as ETSI TC SES (Satellite Earth Stations and systems) and to standardisation activities for communication technologies like WiFi or WiMax .
The SKEMA e-Maritime Standardisation - Requirements and Strategies study has revealed 19 standards that may be needed; mostly in information management and interfacing between maritime transports stakeholders.
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