APMEN uses Global Data Standards & ezTRACK to Enhance Supply Chain Integrity, Efficiency and Visibility


Visualisation of Sea Freight Logistics Phase 2 Project


As more than 80% of all intercontinental cargo uses sea freight transport, sea freight visibility is very important. However, maritime mode is often regarded as “black box” and highly unreliable, which in turn affects planning, especially during disruptions like when the COVID-19 pandemic happens. Therefore, visibility of supply chains is most vital.

Built on the success of Visualisation of Sea Freight Logistics Phase 1 project, the Phase 2 initiative aimed to assist APEC governments to mitigate 2 major chokepoints: 1) Lack of coordinated border management and underdeveloped border clearance and procedures, as well as SMEs access to Global Value Chains (GVCs); 2) Inadequate quality and visibility of sea / air freight data which led to inability to access transportation infrastructure and services.

By focusing on critical sea freight data exchange between port operators in the APEC region, it sought to use GS1 Global Data Standards (GDS) for enhanced visibility, integrity and transparency of e-Ports and cross-border trade.


APMEN and GS1 has been leading the implementation work that included automated data capture, distributed databases, and further development of standards in the sea freight sector. The project also included a greater number of stakeholders from the ports (container terminal operators) of Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong China, Singapore, and Sydney.

With increased complexity, multiple EPCIS platforms were applied. GS1 Hong Kong’s ezTRACK was used for efficient data exchange by OnePort in HK, and the distributed platforms newly developed by GS1 China were used by Shanghai and Xiamen ports in China. In this way, privacy and security of data are guaranteed, while the platforms can still be used as public platforms and data transfer centers by all participants.

Major process flow is illustrated in the graphic below:

Step 1: OnePort received electronic terminal receipt document / shipping electronic order from terminal operator when the vessel arrival or departure. Step 2: OnePort send the EPCIS format container information to GS1 Hong Kong EPCIS Server ezTRACK. Step 3: ezTRACK automatically forward the container data / shipping data to correlated EPCIS Server (Shanghai, Xiamen and Australia) Step 4: Terminal operator (Shanghai, Xiamen and Australia) sends back the container information to specific Port according to the shipping document.

With the use of GDS, the project found improved and more reliable data sharing, reduction in cost and increased efficiency, optimised operation procedures in the sea freight cross-border supply chains processes. Please read https://bit.ly/3LoSavH for details.

  • Strengthened supply chain integrity by enabling better control of product statuses;
  • Enabled better planning and improved risk management by having greater knowledge of the product status;
  • Enhanced efficiency by automating data exchange in shorter time and at lower cost, with more effective operations of border agencies.

“The onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted international supply chains. Planning to strive for on-shelf availability of goods is something that has become an increasingly important issue. As an initiative of our Smart Port development, the use of GDS and ezTRACK platform has demonstrated solid benefits in improving sea freight visibility by providing smart connectivity with other ports, with reduced cost and increased efficiency, helping our clients better plan and ensure on-shelf availability of their products.”

Philip Ho, CEO of OnePort

GS1 standards used or solution (s) / service (s) applied
  • Global Data Standard
  • ezTRACK
  • Electronic Product Code Information System (EPCIS)

Asia-Pacific Model E-Port Network (APMEN) was launched at the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) in November 2014, as a regional cooperation initiative to promote trade facilitation and supply chain connectivity. In August 2015, APMEN Operational Center (AOC) was set up in Shanghai. So far, APMEN has 19 members from 11 APEC economies.



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