Air cargo should move beyond peer-to-peer data sharing

WCS data panel debate

Air cargo needs to begin the process of moving beyond peer-to-peer data sharing to multi-user systems.

Speaking during a session on cargo data during the World Cargo Symposium, Hasse Romer, lead engagement new industries, Ericsson, said that his company along with Panalpina and Finnair Cargo had launched a project to develop an ‘internet of logistics’ where multiple parties in the supply chain could provide and access shipment information.

It is hoped the partners' ‘internet of logistics’ platform will go live by June. Benefits of this type of system include greater visibility, efficiencies and less chance of error.

“Cargo [visibility] is lost as soon as it leaves the warehouse and pops up when it arrives,” said Romer. “So we, Ericsson as shipper, said let's try to do something – try to connect this cargo.

“Today we are doing peer-to-peer messaging. We started saying there must be a better way of doing this and began to explore other options [and decided on the internet of logistics].

“We also need to change our mindset to where we want to publish data, then share that data with business partners and also have those partners subscribe to that data. This is where we need to move into.

“You won’t need to have peer-to-peer connectivity anymore and you can really start to share data and it will be easy to share data.”

Romer described the system like Facebook, instead of sharing updates with each connection individually, you can share through a whole network of connections simultaneously.

WiseTech chief automation officer, air cargo, Scott McCorquodale agreed that this type of multi-user platform would be the future of data sharing in logistics.

However, he said it could take a while until the sector reaches this point. In the meantime, the industry should not stop pushing the development of existing peer-to-peer technologies to overcome some of the issues faced with the current way of working.

Romer also said there needed to be some governance and rules around who owns the data and who can see the data you publish.