Commerce hosts competition for seaport data exchange

Commerce hosts competition for seaport info exchange

In an effort to improve information sharing among stakeholders working in the nation’s seaports, the Department of Commerce is hosting a competition to develop prototypes for open-source port community system platforms. 

Port community systems (PCS) are  single-window platforms that connect multiple systems from the various public and private organizations involved with the shipping process. The aim is to boost efficiency and, as a result, competitiveness, thanks to increased automation and decreased paperwork.

Key features of a standard PCS include electronic data exchange, customs declarations, information on importing and exporting goods, logistics chain tracking and processing data for dangerous goods, according to a 2011 white paper on the subject from European Port Community Association.

“The core benefits for all parties involved are higher efficiency and speed regarding port processes, particularly through [automation] and the reduction of paperwork,” the paper reads. PCS also contribute to sustainable transport logistics and support global carbon reduction requirements.

They have been successfully implemented in Europe since the 1970s, giving users “a competitive advantage,” according to Commerce officials.

The prototypes must use standard data elements and ensure the secure sharing of this data within the stakeholder communities of specific ports.

The Commerce Department plans to share the results of the competition with the port and shipping community “to improve their awareness of effective platforms for their voluntary use and implementation at their discretion.” There will also be a best practices report released in December 2016.

Those interested in joining the competition should email a project proposal to Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning Jeff Weiss Friday, Sept. 9.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

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