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EPCglobal Transportation and Logistics Pilot Takes Visibility to a Global Level

The program's second phase, the organization says, illustrates how EPC-based technology can be utilized to track goods as they are transported by air, sea, road and rail, from China to the United States.
By Claire Swedberg
Some modifications had to be made for the program. For instance, GS1 had planned to install readers at the port terminals, and to transport some of the shipments via rail. Due to time constraints, however, the organization was unable to complete the negotiations to include this in the pilot. GS1 had also intended to incorporate customs requirements in the EPCIS data, but was unable to complete discussions with the appropriate organizations within the project deadlines.

Phase three of the pilot is now being planned, though GS1 has provided few details about this phase thus far. The trade lane will include Europe and Asia, and the pilot will span a greater period of time with additional shipments. "We are also inviting customs to participate in the pilot discussions," Arsenault says.

The second phase reinforced the need for standards adoption since it proved the efficiency of the technology, and now points to the need for a shared standard to make it possible for parties throughout the supply chain in various parts of the world to share data. What's more, Arsenault says, the pilot stressed the importance of EPCIS accessing applications, which will make it possible for parties to use EPCIS to access information regarding a shipment.

Phase-two participants also included Alien Technology, which provided CAT tags; Allumis, EPCIS accessing application; Confidex, CAT tags; DHL, logistics services; iControl Inc., tags and readers; Motorola, interrogators and tags; NTT, tags; NTT Comware, middleware; NYK Logistics, project management and aircraft; Savi Technology, tags and readers; and UPM Raflatac, tags.

Additional participants were Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), which supplied funding for the air portion of the pilot; and GS1 member organizations from China, Hong Kong, Japan and United States. Funding for the Transportation and Logistics Phase 2 pilot was also provided by the participating organizations.

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