Freight Rail

New freight data standard reinforces need for data accuracy


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC), in partnership with GS1 and Transport Certification Australia, has released the Single Freight Data Standard.

The standard enables the harmonised collection and presentation of freight location and performance data. By establishing a framework for the interoperable sharing of information of freight and vehicles, the data standard enables improvements in productivity across the supply chain, said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.

“Data is the “new oil” for the supply chain industry. As the Productivity Commission said in its recent report on national transport regulatory reform ‘governments should prioritise uses of data with the greatest potential to improve productivity in the transport sector in ways that can inform the provision and management of infrastructure, inform decisions around planning and technology, and assist in the development and implementation of other future legislation, with the information forming part of the proposed federal Freight Data Hub’.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the standard.

“The Australian government acknowledges the need for a single data standard to enable governments and industry to make data driven decisions,” he said.

The importance of having a harmonised data environment for the freight and logistics sector was highlighted in a recent report from iMOVE, the cooperative research centre for transport and mobility.

The study, which involved trials with Woolworths, Nestle, and Toll Group, found that a lack of access to real-time supply chain freight data added to delays.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the findings would be valuable for the industry.

“The report noted sharing real-time freight data would mean our supply chain operators could respond to delays and errors quickly,” he said.

“We want to ensure our freight is moving efficiently across the country, getting to our doors as smoothly as possible. This study has given the Australian government a deeper insight into ways we can improve our freight supply chains.”

The study will inform the creation of the National Freight Data Hub, which aims to provide visibility into the performance of the freight network, improve infrastructure and transport network planning, and support operations.

Part of the project also involved a data aggregation project with GS1 which highlighted how raw freight consignment data can be aggregated into strategic-level data that can be used for infrastructure planning and policy development.

iMOVE managing director Ian Christensen said that data would ease communication across the supply chain.

“Freight operations overseas are working vigorously to reduce ‘transactional friction’ along supply chains. Australian businesses need to catch up and recognise the importance of sharing data to maintain the competitiveness of local supply chains,” he said.

“State and federal governments in Australia are also focused on achieving stronger supply chain performance. Their interest is in making informed decisions on new infrastructure and better freight policy, and to do that they need a clear view of the overall picture. This is best achieved by aggregating (anonymised) real operational data from the freight industry itself.”