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Mobilising global freight data

COMCIS is a collaborative project between multiple transport and logistics actors that generates situational awareness along global supply chains in support of enhanced logistics services.


Awareness: Imagine that you’re waiting to handle or receive a container of high-value cargo. It’s critical that it be delivered efficiently, on time and intact. But how can you find out what is happening to your container during its long journey? With 90% of world trade being transported by sea it has never been more important to make cargo-related data flow as freely as the physical cargo itself. COMCIS delivers awareness throughout global supply chains to solve problems of data fragmentation, delay, and inconsistency. Using data drawn from the entire supply chain, COMCIS provides accurate, comprehensive logistics information.

You can find out about problems sooner and adjust your plans proactively, minimising the impact of deviations or other exceptions and maximising commercial opportunities. COMCIS supplies business tools that can eliminate uncertainties and raise efficiency, especially when sensitive cargo is involved. COMCIS demonstrates “Collaborative Information Services for Container Management” and ensures that such services can be used in real-world operations. The project is funded by the European Commission, General Directorate for Research, under the 7th Framework Programme for Research & Development (FP7).

Take-away: How can I use COMCIS results?

Collaboration: Access, standardise, consolidate & deliver information from multiple data sources and parties.

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Companies currently have to cope with different standards for data exchange between multiple systems and parties. Without a single, industry-wide communication format, this takes time and costs money.

COMCIS uses the so-called Common Framework, which supports interoperability between ICT systems in logistics and provides a basis for semantic (i.e. content-related) standards in the transport and logistics sector. Key elements of the Common Framework are part of the UBL version 2.1 standard. A link is being established between the Common Framework and the GS1 Logistics Interoperability Model.

COMCIS deploys a 3-layer architecture that supports B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2A (Business-to-Administration) communications:

Firstly COMCIS aggregates data from multiple sources, each with their own format and frequency, making it easier to access data that is spread throughout the supply chain.

Secondly COMCIS standardises the data so that it can be processed by value-added services, independent of its original source and format.

Thirdly COMCIS consolidates the data to create on-time, qualified and derived information that can support operational decisions: delivering the right information to the right person, at the right time, in a user-friendly way.

A core strength of the COMCIS concept is that it can be implemented across a wide range of situations, from an operationally driven, hinterland-focused case like ECT to a strategically driven, global case like DHL – and everything in between.

The technology, services and data that COMCIS provides can be customised quickly and easily to meet individual companies’ needs. It is being subjected to extensive practical testing to ensure that the system is robust and ready to be implemented in businesses of any size, from global shipping giants to local logistics agents.

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Opportunity: Create new models for business and operations. Currently the data for end-to-end supply chains are scattered across the globe. Looking at the entire chain is usually too complex and costly for individual businesses, which means they miss out on commercial opportunities. COMCIS creates holistic views of supply chains, beyond the boundaries of a single actor’s operational responsibilities, and offers information services that can benefit logistics service providers, terminal operators, ocean carriers, port authorities and customs administrations in their respective activities. Professional actors benefit from greater operational control;

with more relevant and comprehensive information and fewer barriers to communication they can react sooner to deviations in the supply chain, and identify opportunities for further improvement. By raising the quality of services, actors can also create added value for their customers. COMCIS is ready to help stakeholders understand the value of multiple information channels, offer advice on how to use them, and demonstrate the resulting benefits. While results are demonstrated on this site using examples from industry leaders, COMCIS solutions have been designed to be equally useful to SME’s.

DHL Story

The following transport and logistics actors actively participated in the COMCIS project.

Logit Systems BVBA

Logit Systems BVBA provides a multi-modal freight visibility service that offers situational awareness and supply chain event management. Coordinates the project.


Descartes is the global leader in providing on-demand, software-as-a-service solutions focused on improving the productivity, performance and security of logistics-intensive businesses.


DHL Global Forwarding is a global leader in the air and ocean freight markets, providing door-to-door transport of goods, customised logistics solutions, and customs services.

Cargo Community System VZW

CCS is an association of the Flemish Government, Flemish Port Authorities and Belgian Customs. CCS wants to improve operational and cost efficiency in Flemish ports by optimising port-related transport and logistics processes and ICT support, thus enhancing the attractiveness of the Flanders Port Area.

Administration of Customs and Excise

The Belgian Administration of Customs and Excise is currently working towards creating certified logistic chains in order to be able to focus on law enforcement for non-certified logistic chains.


The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) functions as an intermediary between basic research organisations and industry, translating scientific knowledge into practical applications.

Europe Container Terminals (ECT)

Founded in 1966, ECT is now the largest and most advanced container terminal operator in Europe, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, handling 60% of all containers in the port of Rotterdam.

BMT Group

BMT Group is an international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, working in dynamic operational environments and delivering pragmatic solutions based on operational research and systems engineering.

Marlo AS

Marlo delivers know-how and technology to clients in the transports and logistics sector. Marlo has been involved in establishing new businesses on the basis of EU research, and has extensive experience in vessel traffic and port management systems.

Inlecom Ltd

Inlecom’s team of software engineering, economics and business management experts provide strategic, knowledge-centric solutions to help private and public organisations use their unique capabilities to create or strengthen their competitive advantage.

The Institute of Logistics and Warehousing (Instytut Logistyki i Magazynowania, ILiM)

The Institute of Logistics and Warehousing (Instytut Logistyki i Magazynowania, ILiM) is the leading Polish supplier of up-to-date solutions supporting management of both materials and information flows.

Bluegreen Strategy SRL (Italy)

Bluegreen Strategy SRL (Italy) is a consulting company specialising in innovative approaches and technologies applied to the logistics chain. Bluegreen helps companies and public organisations to plan and implement investments in sustainable ICT solutions.