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DCSA rolls out standards for digital exchange of operational vessel schedules

Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), a non-profit group established to further digitalisation of container shipping technology standards, has published standards for the exchange of operational vessel schedules (OVS).

The standards can be implemented by vessel operators, as well as their Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) partners and operational service providers, to enable automatic sharing of schedule information.

“With the new standards in place, carriers can digitally publish their schedules, and their partners and operational service providers can subscribe to the carrier’s feed to automatically receive updates, or retrieve updates as needed,” DCSA said.

The group believes this will provide complete vessel schedule transparency, increasing efficiency and enabling better planning and optimisation of shipping activities.

The DCSA OVS standard publication comprises a set of documents:

  • The DCSA Industry Blueprint 2.0 with OVS schedule definitions and an updated glossary of terms
  • The DCSA Information Model 2.0
  • DCSA Data Interface Standards for OVS 1.0 and associated Reading Guides

The group has also published OVS API definitions on the SwaggerHub open source API development platform, where future enhancements will be published.

“Operational vessel schedules are core to the functioning of the container shipping industry,” said Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA.

“Digitising them is necessary if we want to build a higher degree of effectiveness and efficiency into the fabric of container shipping processes, and this release is an important step in that direction.

Ultimately, the more transparency and efficiency we build into these fundamental processes the more each stakeholder will be able to trust and benefit in terms of lower costs, increased productivity, greater innovation, a better customer experience, and less impact on the environment.”

The release of the standards comes at a time when the schedule reliability of container carriers is particularly challenged by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Copenhagen-based Sea Intelligence, since the coronavirus outbreak in February, and the blank sailings that followed, there has not been a material negative impact on schedule reliability, but rather an improving trend heading into June 2020.

However, the consultancy found that of those offered services, only 37% of deep-sea services provided over 85% schedule reliability.

“We are fast approaching the lowest level we have recorded since we started measuring reliability in 2012. Additionally, only 15% of the services had May 2020 reliability over 95%, which is the lowest recorded share,” Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence, said.