As part of the high-profile multi-agency United Nations Development Account project Transport and Trade Connectivity in the Age of Pandemics, UNECE has developed a segment focusing on the harmonization of standards for the digitalization of data and document exchange in multimodal transport and trade. The objective is to use the standards of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), a UNECE subsidiary body, notably the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport Reference Data Model, to provide for interoperability and data exchange between documents, modes of transport and sectors. This will allow for seamless exchange of information, for example in digital corridors, and will limit person-to-person contacts in the supply chain. The use of United Nations standards and modern IT tools, provided as international public goods, helps improve the efficiency and safety of international transport and trade in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The segment is producing, step-by-step, a package of standards to be used in the digitalization of key documents accompanying goods transported by various modes: maritime, road, railway, air and inland water transport. If the data sets in these documents are interoperable with the United Nations standards, this will allow for interoperability along transport and supply chains. The objective is not to impose solutions (ready electronic documents) to the various stakeholders, but to provide solutions for interoperability, including the use of such modern technologies as XML and JSON API. Initial pilot implementation cases have started, such as the digitalization of the multimodal Bill of Lading of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) or a pilot test of the concept focusing on the exports of wood products from Belarus to Central Europe, using road, railway, river and sea transportation (a Dnieper – Danube pilot test).
Practical assessment of the Data Pipeline concept for improving the Grain Corridor efficiency using UN/CEFACT standards
The war in Ukraine, caused by the aggression of the Russian Federation, led to a humanitarian catastrophe not only in Ukraine, but also provoked a global food crisis. The blockade of Ukrainian seaports and the impossibility of supplying Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products to the world market led to the risk of famine in many countries and a significant increase in world food prices. The limited capacity of existing transport corridors and the impossibility to increase it rapidly by traditional methods in a limited time frame has led to the need to find ways and approaches to improve the efficiency of the existing logistics infrastructure by simplifying procedures and digitalization.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) initiated a project to explore the practical application of the data exchange pipeline concept to improve the efficiency of this grain export corridor using UN standards.
Data mapping between selected business documents used in multimodal data and document exchange and regulatory information systems, such as Single Window and Customs systems
During this consultancy project, the Consultant analyzed the data requirements in a sample transport document aligned to the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport Reference Data Model (MMT RDM), the European Union Customs Data Model (EUCDM) and the WCO Data Model. The objective was to produce data mapping between these instruments, with a view to propose practical solution for using in regulatory information systems (such as regulatory Single Window, Customs systems) the information in the package of standards for the digitalization of multimodal transport data and document exchange.