Friday, December 19, 2014


Today I received an email from St. Louis University asking me to participate in a survey asking my thoughts on the formation of a not-for-profit organization to handle electronic data interchange (EDI) standards in the inland waterways towing industry.

I'm really not qualified to offer an opinion on that. For those of you who may have an interest in this, the letter begins
The Center for Supply Chain Management at the John Cook School of Business, St. Louis University, has been commissioned to advise and provide guidance if transitioning to an industry-led, not for profit association for the development and advancement of EDI Standards will best benefit the inland waterway industry in the future. We are seeking your input on this possibility.

As background, the rail, trucking, grain, petroleum and other industries have not-for-profit associations for the development and advancement of EDI Standards. A vast majority of businesses within those industries participate in the associations and take advantage of the savings afforded by implementing EDI standards developed on a collective basis. Most Industry associations have been formed by industry leaders who understand the benefits in business process and cost savings through the collective effort of EDI standard development, implementation and active use.

Since 2006, Ingram, AEP River Operations and ACL have led the effort in the development of EDI standards and collaboration in the inland waterway industry. They invested in the creation of the BargeEx information exchange and the formation of MarineNet, LLC to further advance these goals.

MarineNet is owned by the three companies, not the industry. In contrast, the not-for-profit associations for transportation and adjacent industries are collaborative organizations, who are led and promoted by the active membership they serve. The current MarineNet owners have come to believe the development and advancement of EDI Standards can be advanced more rapidly by transitioning to an association model that provides even greater openness and sharing of intellectual property and resources in the inland waterway industry.

And there's a link at the end for people answer four questions and provide personal and company information.

If you want more information on BargeEx, click here.

For more on MarineNet, click here.

As I'm not familiar with these organizations, there's not a lot more I can add.