Start construction of DEFlog: the next step in digitisation of logistics

DEFlog stands for Data Exchange Facility Logistics. It is a public-private digital facility that makes it possible to exchange data between companies and governments, as well as among companies themselves. In the coming months, Portbase will be developing an initial version in close collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and SmartwayZ.NL. DEFlog is the next step in the digitisation of the logistics sector. In time, this is meant to lead to smarter and more efficient planning and implementation of logistics processes.

Facilitating data exchange between public and private parties and among themselves in the supply chain is central to DEFlog. Roeland van Bockel, one of the initiators from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, explains: ‘DEFlog meets a need of the government and in the market. Such a data exchange facility doesn’t exist yet. It gives the opportunity to develop new ITS applications, but also supports existing applications.’

Many different applications possible

One of those existing applications that will become easily accessible to the logistics sector in the future via DEFlog is data on roadworks. The NDW (Dutch National Road Traffic Data Database) offers a real-time overview of the traffic situation for service providers and traffic control centres. In addition, NDW collects other road traffic data, for example about roadworks, and will soon also distribute these to DEFlog. DEFlog translates the data into a standard that is widely used in the logistics sector. This enables IT service providers to also retrieve the data via DEFLog and use it as part of their services. Examples include a navigation service for carriers which can warn drivers about roadworks en route. Another application would be: a sensor at a loading site detects a free spot and via DEFlog, this becomes available in real-time, together with other data about the location. An IT service provider retrieves the data and navigates the driver to the location. Other data elements that DEFlog can start exchanging are data about incidents, bridge openings, changes in allowed delivery times and queues for terminals and depots.

Agreements about data

In the example above, data moves from the government to market parties, but a carrier can also share data with the government. For example, sharing the location of a vehicle for a traffic light priority request at a junction. It will also be possible for carriers to exchange data among themselves, for example about the degree of loading in relation to routes and destinations. An important aspect in that respect is that the ‘source holder’, the organisation that produces the data from, for example, a planning system, maintains control over who receives the data and under what conditions. Agreements are made about authorisation and access. DEFlog uses existing standards, tools and appointment systems for this, including the Open Trip Model and iSHARE.

Construction of the digital infrastructure

It is up to Portbase to build this facility. Iwan van der Wolf, managing director of Portbase explains: ‘Building DEFlog fits in seamlessly with our existing services and mission. We’re already facilitating data sharing between companies and information exchange with governments for all maritime traffic in order to be able to work faster, with greater flexibility and at lower costs.’

Collaboration with the market

In addition to the ministry, SmartwayZ.NL and Portbase as initiators, NDW, Stichting Uniforme Transport Code and, if necessary, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Port of Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport and Greenport, join the work sessions to given DEFlog substance and shape. Several carriers also join via SmartwayZ.NL. In these work sessions, the intermediate products are tested and assessed. The delivery of the first version of DEFlog is scheduled for the summer of 2020. It concerns a so-called Minimum Viable Product that will be expanded in the course of 2020-2021.

For more information, please contact Paul Swaak, programme manager at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management: paul@swaak.nl.