Standards for Digital Exchange of Vessel Schedules Published by DCSA

Standards released for digitization of container shipping operations

Published Jul 7, 2020 5:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

Digitization in the container shipping industry took another step forward with the publication of standards for the exchange of operational vessel schedules (OVS) released today by the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), a non-profit group founded by major ocean carriers to support digitization and standardization in the container shipping industry.

According to the DCSA, 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. 

“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. Once implemented, our OVS standards will, for example, enable a port operator to optimize their operational activities in accordance with the exact arrival time and departure date of a vessel. 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.” 

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. This will provide complete vessel schedule transparency, increasing efficiency, and enabling better planning and optimization of shipping activities. 

The DCSA OVS standard publication includes an industry blueprint with an updated glossary of terms along with data interface standards and an informational model. In addition to these documents, DCSA has published OVS API definitions on the SwaggerHub open-source API development platform, where future enhancements will also be published. 

“The modern era requires greater transparency and interoperability among industry participants,” said Yu Kurimoto, Managing Director, Corporate and Innovation for ONE (Ocean Network Express). “OVS is a perfect example of an area in which digitalization would provide these benefits. We are very pleased to see DCSA taking on OVS with its digital standards initiatives. Their efforts are important for helping ONE and the industry achieve its goals moving forward.”