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Importance of EDI in Transportation and Logistics Industry

The Plight of the Transportation Industry in the United States

The transportation and logistics combined is one of the most indispensable industries of the world’s economy. It includes everything from vehicles-shippers-carriers- transportation personnel that facilitate the movement of goods from one place to the other. We have seen during Covid, there was a major impact in transportation, logistics and the entire supply chain crashed. Not to forget, we are still experiencing the after effects of delay in shipments, ships stationed on the docks with materials that no one is available to transport them to their respective destinations and extreme shortage of personnel. On top of this, imagine, if we face a situation where the systems are working in silos and there is no standardized exchange of data between shippers, carriers and brokers.
To add to the above, as a matter of fact, majority of products are moved throughout the United States through independent trucking companies. These are trucking companies that have less than five trucks in their fleet. Incidentally, these make up to 90% of the trucks on the road today. Most of these companies do not have a digital solution in place. The independent truckers rely on the shipments to come from the other 10% called the Freight Brokers. The freight brokers act as a bridge between the customers and the independent truckers and they are the ones who have connections and contacts within the customer/companies. It is a flawed system where freight broker makes money off of the independent trucker that is actually handling the freight.

Benefits of EDI in the Transportation and Logistics Industry

Considering all of the above, the transportation industry was one of the first to get involved with EDI. We will say, EDI saved this industry from being an operational disaster. EDI in trucking eliminates the need to manually enter information into Transport Management software (TMS) or their billing/dispatch systems.This not only minimizes errors but also saves both time and money. EDI provides full visibility and transparency into the overall data flow across the stakeholders involved. It is important to know where the product is, when will it be delivered etc.

EDI Standards for Transportation and Logistics

Most commonly used EDI standard in the transportation and logistics space is ANSI (ASC) X12. Since 1979, ASC (Accredited Standards Committee) has been developing and maintaining the X12 standard. The sub-committee that takes care of the transportation specific codes of X12 is called X12I.  

Here’s a video in detail that talks about various definitions and EDI documents commonly used in the transportation and logistics industry:

EDI Logistics Transactions Flow Example

  1. The customer sends an EDI 204 (Motor Carrier Load Tender) to the freight broker.
    • The freight broker’s TMS send back an EDI 997 (Functional Acknowledgement)
      • The freight broker either accepts or denies the shipment via a 990 (Response to a Load Tender)
        • Meanwhile, an independent trucker tries to win the load from the freight broker.
          • The independent trucker gets the load from the customer’s facility, if they win the load.
            • The independent trucker informs the freight broker that the shipment has been picked up
              • An EDI 211 (Bill of Lading) is sent to the customer/shipper by the broker as a proof that they have received the freight in an acceptable condition and are ready to be shipped
                • The freight broker’s TMS sends out an EDI 214 (Shipment Status Message) to the customer that the load has been picked up
                  • The independent trucker keeps in contact with the broker while in transit and the broker sends out 214s to the customer until the shipment is delivered
                    • Once the shipment is delivered safely, the broker sends out an EDI 210 (Freight Details and Invoice) to the customer/shipper
                      • Once the broker is paid, they pay the independent trucker
                      • EDI 104: Air Shipment Information

                      • EDI 106: Motor Carrier Rate Proposal

                      • EDI 107: Request for Motor Carrier Rate Proposal

                      • EDI 108: Response to a Motor Carrier Rate Proposal

                      • EDI 109: Vessel Content Details

                      • EDI 110: Air Freight Details and Invoice

                      • EDI 120: Vehicle Shipping Order

                      • EDI 121: Vehicle Service

                      • EDI 125: Multilevel Railcar Load Details

                      • EDI 126: Vehicle Application Advice

                      • EDI 127: Vehicle Baying Order

                      • EDI 128: Dealer Information

                      • EDI 129: Vehicle Carrier Rate Update

                      • EDI 160: Transportation Automatic Equipment Identification

                      • EDI 161: Train Sheet

                      • EDI 163: Transportation Appointment Schedule Information

                      • EDI 212: Motor Carrier Delivery Trailer Manifest

                      • EDI 213: Motor Carrier Shipment Status Inquiry

                      • EDI 215: Motor Carrier Pick-up Manifest

                      • EDI 216: Motor Carrier Shipment Pick-up Notification

                      • EDI 217: Motor Carrier Loading and Route Guide

                      • EDI 219: Logistics Service Request

                      • EDI 220: Logistics Service Response

                      • EDI 222: Cartage Work Assignment

                      • EDI 223: Consolidators Freight Bill and Invoice

                      • EDI 224: Motor Carrier Summary Freight Bill Manifest

                      • EDI 225: Response to a Cartage Work Assignment

                      • EDI 227: Trailer Usage Report

                      • EDI 228: Equipment Inspection Report

                      • EDI 240: Motor Carrier Package Status

                      • EDI 250: Purchase Order Shipment Management Document

                      • EDI 300: Reservation (Booking Request) (Ocean)

                      • EDI 301: Confirmation (Ocean)

                      • EDI 303: Booking Cancellation (Ocean)

                      • EDI 304: Shipping Instructions

                      • EDI 309: Customs Manifest

                      • EDI 310: Freight Receipt and Invoice (Ocean)

                      • EDI 311: Canada Customs Information

                      • EDI 312: Arrival Notice (Ocean)

                      • EDI 313: Shipment Status Inquiry (Ocean)

                      • EDI 315: Status Details (Ocean)

                      • EDI 317: Delivery/Pickup Order

                      • EDI 319: Terminal Information

                      • EDI 322: Terminal Operations and Intermodal Ramp Activity

                      • EDI 323: Vessel Schedule and Itinerary (Ocean)

                      • EDI 324: Vessel Stow Plan (Ocean)

                      • EDI 325: Consolidation of Goods in Container

                      • EDI 326: Consignment Summary List

                      • EDI 350: Customs Status Information

                      • EDI 352: U.S. Customs Carrier General Order Status

                      • EDI 353: Customs Events Advisory Details

                      • EDI 354: U.S. Customs Auto. Manifest Archive Status

                      • EDI 355: U.S. Customs Acceptance/Rejection

                      • EDI 356: U.S. Customs Permit to Transfer Request

                      • EDI 357: U.S. Customs In-Bond Information

                      • EDI 358: Customs Consist Information

                      • EDI 359: Customs Customer Profile Management

                      • EDI 361: Carrier Interchange Agreement (Ocean)

                      • EDI 404: Rail Carrier Shipment Information

                      • EDI 410: Rail Carrier Freight Details and Invoice

                      • EDI 412: Trailer or Container Repair Billing

                      • EDI 414: Rail Carhire Settlements

                      • EDI 417: Rail Carrier Waybill Interchange

                      • EDI 418: Rail Advance Interchange Consist

                      • EDI 419: Advance Car Disposition

                      • EDI 420: Car Handling Information

                      • EDI 421: Estimated Time of Arrival & Car Scheduling

                      • EDI 422: Equipment Order

                      • EDI 423: Rail Industrial Switch List

                      • EDI 424: Rail Carrier Services Settlement

                      • EDI 425: Rail Waybill Request

                      • EDI 426: Rail Revenue Waybill

                      • EDI 429: Railroad Retirement Activity

                      • EDI 431: Railroad Station Master File

                      • EDI 432: Rail Deprescription

                      • EDI 433: Railroad Reciprocal Switch File

                      • EDI 434: Railroad Mark Register Update Activity

                      • EDI 435: Standard Transportation Commodity Code Master

                      • EDI 436: Locomotive Information

                      • EDI 437: Railroad Junctions & Interchanges Activity

                      • EDI 440: Shipment Weights

                      • EDI 451: Railroad Event Report

                      • EDI 452: Railroad Problem Log Inquiry or Advice

                      • EDI 453: Railroad Service Commitment Advice

                      • EDI 455: Railroad Parameter Trace Registration

                      • EDI 456: Railroad Equipment Inquiry or Advice

                      • EDI 460: Railroad Price Distribution Request or Response

                      • EDI 463: Rail Rate Reply

                      • EDI 466: Rate Request

                      • EDI 468: Rate Docket Journal Log

                      • EDI 470: Railroad Clearance

                      • EDI 475: Rail Route File Maintenance

                      • EDI 485: Ratemaking Action

                      • EDI 486: Rate Docket Expiration

                      • EDI 490: Rate Group Definition

                      • EDI 492: Miscellaneous Rates

                      • EDI 494: Rail Scale Rates

                      • EDI 601: U.S. Customs Export Shipment Information

                      • EDI 603: Transportation Equipment Registration

                      • EDI 715: Intermodal Group Loading Plan

                      • EDI 854: Shipment Delivery Discrepancy Info.

                      • EDI 858: Shipment Information

                      • EDI 859: Freight Invoice

                      • EDI 920: Loss or Damage Claim: Gen. Commodities

                      • EDI 924: Loss or Damage Claim: Motor Vehicle

                      • EDI 925: Claim Tracer

                      • EDI 926: Claim Status Report and Tracer Reply

                      • EDI 928: Automotive Inspection Detail

                      • EDI 980: Functional Group Totals

                      • EDI 998: Set Cancellation

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