• QuayChain
  • July 30, 2023
  • 3 read

Maritime Transportation Data Initiative Recommendations | QuayChain

In today’s interconnected and rapidly evolving world, efficient and seamless transportation of goods is crucial for the success of global supply chains. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) recently unveiled the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) recommendations to address the long-standing challenge of information sharing and coordination within the freight movement process.

Discussing the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI)

At QuayChain, we wholeheartedly embrace data-driven solutions, and we’re excited about the potential impact of the MTDI recommendations on improving supply chain operations. Today, we will delve into the details and significance of the MTDI recommendations and how they align with our mission to drive progress in this critical area.

What is the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative?

The Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) is an initiative launched by Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel B. Maffei in November 2021. Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel was tasked with examining data and maritime commerce to develop recommendations for common data standards and access policies.

Overview: Recommendations for the MTDI

In April 2023, Carl W. Bentzel released a statement announcing he had made his recommendations for the MTDI.

The MTDI process involved 18 weekly meetings and the participation of 80 different stakeholders from the maritime/intermodal supply chain. The initiative included livestreamed events, an open comment process, and meetings with international, federal, and other relevant stakeholders. The MTDI culminated in a Data Summit, which took place in June 2022. 

Following the summit, a draft document with preliminary recommendations was shared for review and comments. The final recommendations propose the establishment of the Maritime Data Transportation Data System (MDTS).

It would provide information on the following:

  • Planned ocean carrier voyages
  • Real-time vessel positions and arrival estimates
  • Standardization of cargo status information
  • In-transit visibility for intermodal rail carriers

The recommendations also address transparency, ease of access, and coordination of information, recognizing the unique operations and coordination challenges of different port complexes. The recommendations propose that port authorities provide public access to information from ocean carriers, marine terminal operators, intermodal rail carriers, and other port-wide information. 

Finally, the recommendations suggest the FMC issue voluntary guidelines for intermodal services activities impacting intermodal ports.

The challenge of information sharing

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated issues in the maritime industry, highlighting the urgent need for improved information sharing and a standardized lexicon across stakeholders. Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel recognized this challenge, and, as previously mentioned, he conducted 18 public meetings as part of the MTDI.

These meetings brought industry leaders together to identify and address the obstacles hindering the smooth flow of freight through the supply chain.

The importance of advanced notification and coordination

Commissioner Bentzel’s MTDI recommendations emphasize the importance of:

  • Advanced notification of incoming cargo
  • Enhanced coordination among transportation modes and stakeholders

By establishing a better information-sharing process, the industry can mitigate disruptions caused by cargo surges and foster a more proactive approach to supply chain management. This report is a valuable resource, outlining key strategies for achieving these goals.

Shared responsibility

Another crucial takeaway from the MTDI public meetings is the recognition that freight movement through the supply chain is a shared responsibility. Collaboration among all stakeholders is essential to achieving efficient and resilient supply chains.

This includes:

  • Carriers
  • Shippers
  • Port operators
  • Regulatory bodies

The MTDI recommendations emphasize the need for collective action and the cultivation of a cooperative ecosystem that fosters information exchange and standardized processes.

Driving progress at QuayChain

At QuayChain, we are passionate about leveraging data-driven solutions to enhance global supply chains. The MTDI recommendations resonate with our belief in the transformative power of data.

By adopting standardized practices and embracing advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, we can unlock the full potential of supply chain data. 

These advancements lead to more efficient and cost-effective operations by enabling:

  • Real-time visibility
  • Improved forecasting
  • Enhanced decision-making
  • Continued collaboration

We applaud Commissioner Bentzel and the Federal Maritime Commission’s commitment to soliciting public comment on the MTDI recommendations. Such an inclusive approach ensures the perspectives and expertise of industry participants are considered.

QuayChain is thrilled to contribute to this process. As such, we're working hand in hand with the FMC and other industry partners to drive progress in this critical area. Through ongoing collaboration, we can refine the MTDI recommendations to ensure their successful implementation. This will also pave the way for a future where supply chains operate seamlessly, even in the face of challenges.


The release of the Maritime Transportation Data Initiative (MTDI) recommendations by the Federal Maritime Commission marks a significant milestone in pursuing efficient and resilient global supply chains.

These recommendations lay the groundwork for a more proactive and collaborative approach to supply chain management. They do this by addressing the long-standing challenge of information sharing and coordination.

At QuayChain, we embrace the transformative power of data-driven solutions and fully support the MTDI’s objectives. We are excited about the opportunities for innovation and progress as we continue working alongside the FMC and industry partners.

Together, we can unlock the full potential of our supply chains and build a more robust and interconnected global trade ecosystem.

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