SELIS: working better through early detection

Published on: 16 April 2019
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By Christophe Reynaud, Innovation Manager at MGI





Goods in transit undergo nine to fifteen changes or modifications to customs, trade and administrative statuses. Five to twelve players are involved in goods transit or granting statuses and hundreds of emails are exchanged for each good.

Multiply that by the number of goods that transit through ports and airports everyday and you get an idea of what this high-risk environment is like, with problems that can affect goods and data errors that hold up transit.

Detecting risks as early as possible is therefore crucial to the competitiveness of supply chains. That’s why MGI is working on providing a solution through the Shared European Logistics Intelligent Information Space (SELIS) project’s “Customs & Cross-border Interactions” experimentation laboratory.

Inspection authorities aren’t the only ones that should be involved in risk analysis

Today, the only entities that carry out risk analysis are government inspection agencies, especially customs officials. They use their own criteria and the confidential results are only used for their own internal purposes.

The intention of the SELIS project is to show that another risk analysis tool that works alongside those currently being used could be implemented. The results could be shared between all the professionals involved in goods transit at ports and airports. A port container, number of articles or weight don’t match up? These operational standards- or regulations-based criteria can be incorporated into a process for detecting high-risk data in order to identify them as early as possible and inform the right professionals.

SELIS has targeted three areas for risk analysis: safety and security, operations synchronisation, and process performance.

In terms of safety and security, full containers without seals or with seals changed between the Import Control System declaration and input of the manifest into a Cargo Community System, can alert customs officials and identify a shipping anomaly.

Operations synchronisation, which organises the various modes of transport for logistics can be optimised. Determining the relevance of vessel Estimated Times of Arrival provided by Marine Traffic, the company that tracks ships in real time, and identifying priorities in managing multimodal inland logistics can inform professionals about schedule changes in their supply chain.

Finally, the performance of processes can be altered by poor quality data or specific actions that need to be carried out, which needs to be detected earlier so that professionals can respond and prevent risks from becoming problems. For instance, if a wrong container number isn’t rectified before unloading operations, it leads to regularisations in the system and prevents automated processing from being carried out, which means it takes longer for goods to transit through the terminal.

Data pipelines

The consistency of risk analysis depends on the amount of information and how often data is collected throughout the supply chain. We therefore decided to implement the data pipeline concept promoted by UN/CEFACT. This system provides a standardised framework, the Pipeline Data Exchange Structure, capable of analysing any type of international trade document and extracting data that can be used for risk analysis at critical transit points along the supply chain.

Short sea shipping: highly risk-sensitive traffic 

The functions of SELIS will be assessed on the Radès-Tunis-Marseille route, due to its complexity. It combines daily stops, quick transit times (just 36 hours), conventional, container and Ro-Ro goods to be processed. The idea behind the platform is to input manifests processed in MGI solutions (M-Customs and Ci5) into a secure data pipeline (Selis Community Node) and identify risks before export loading and import unloading, or during shipping, through the participation of Marine Traffic. The result will be shared by customs, phytosanitary and veterinary services, terminal operators, shipping agents and freight forwarders via a dashboard or emails. The new service will allow these various professionals to be more efficient, flexible, viable and robust, while significantly lightening their administrative workload.

The pilot project will take place from April to the end of September. The results will supplement MGI’s CHANNEL5 service.

*Project financed through the European Commission’s H2020 programme call for proposals.  The aim is to help logistics community professionals manage their operations more efficiently, securely and sustainably while protecting their data integrity and security. Thirty-eight members from thirteen countries are participating in the SELIS project, including MGI, INLECOM Systems, CLMS, CONEX, Dresden University of Technology, eBOS Technologies Ltd, IBM, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, Marine Traffic, Zaragoza Logistics Center.