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DCSA establishes IoT container connectivity standards

Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has published IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity interface standards for shipping containers.

The non-profit group was established to further the digitalisation of container shipping technology standards, in conjunction with its nine-member carriers. The group said the standards can be implemented by vessel operators and owners as well as ports, terminals, container yards, inland logistics providers and other third parties to ensure interoperability between smart container solutions at the radio interface level.

With these standards in place, carriers and supply chain participants will be one step closer to providing customers with an uninterrupted flow of relevant information regarding the whereabouts of containers and the status of their contents at any point along the container journey, according to DCSA.

“Interoperability of IoT devices is one of the keys to enable massive smart containers deployment, taking the digital age of shipping one step further beyond paperless processes by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to support enhanced decision-making by the various sectoral stakeholders,” said Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli, Chief of Trade Facilitation Section for UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

This is one of many initiatives to be put forth by DCSA to accelerate digitalisation through a unified industry effort.

The DCSA IoT Standard for Gateway Connectivity Interfaces, which can be freely downloaded from the DCSA website, includes radio standards for gateways on vessel, on land, at event locations and in handheld devices.

These DCSA IoT standards provide an initial set of connectivity recommendations that are vendor and platform agnostic to reduce investment risk, increase operational efficiency and enable innovation.

The new standards are the first of three planned IoT standards releases addressing the connectivity requirements for reefer and dry containers, as well as the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) registration of these containers. Future releases will focus on data structure and handling, physical device specifications as well as security and access management.

“This release is an important step in enabling mass deployment of smart containers and forms the foundation of a group of standards that will address the industry’s most critical container use cases,” commented Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA

“Once implemented, our IoT standards will enable, for example, reefer container tracking, monitoring and controlling along the entire container journey, with no connectivity ‘blind spots,” he added.

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