Improving Australian supply chains through freight data: A report

Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics

A new report from iMOVE with partners Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) and GS1 Australia provides new insights into how sharing and aggregating freight data remain of key importance to improving our supply chains.

The report is the result of three pilot projects set up to illustrate both the operational and strategic benefits to be gained by better use of freight data, and which would also contribute to the ongoing efforts to establish the National Freight Data Hub by the federal government.

The three projects were designed to complement each other and included a Supply Chain Freight Data Trial, a Multimodal Supply Chain Trial and a Freight Data Aggregation Trial.

The first two projects aimed to illustrate the benefits to industry of sharing and accessing freight data along supply chains with the provision of data from industry collaborators Nestle, Woolworths, Toll, and Infrabuild.

Difficulties with inconsistencies in raw data along with the advent of COVID made it impossible to complete these pilots. However, the Freight Data Aggregation Pilot proceeded using synthetic data and realistic use cases, which provided insights and pointed towards important next steps.


The report found that aggregation of operational data can deliver important strategic insights that can inform infrastructure planning network operations, corridor planning and freight policy. It also highlighted the need to continue to develop standards and protocols, and also to broaden industry involvement to maximise benefits.

The Data Aggregation pilot project makes five recommendations to build on the work commenced in this pilot project:

  1. Generate strategic-level outputs from actual (non synthetic) freight consignment messages
  2. Develop real-time supply chain visibility through data exchange
  3. Understand current use of freight industry data standards, protocols, and systems
  4. Implement standards and methods to improve freight industry data exchange
  5. Implement a minimal, but sufficient to generate benefits, freight data exchange dataset

iMOVE Managing Director, Ian Christensen has called on industry to take bolder steps to embrace data and increase information sharing along supply chains, or risk being out-competed by overseas operators who are already reaping the efficiency benefits.

“If we don’t lift our game Australian productivity could fall further behind, and our competitiveness will be seriously undermined.” he said.

“Freight operations overseas are working vigorously to reduce ‘transactional friction’ along supply chains. Australian businesses need to catch up and recognise the importance of sharing data to maintain the competitiveness of local supply chains.”

“State and Federal governments in Australia are also focussed on achieving stronger supply chain performance. Their interest is in making informed decisions on new infrastructure and better freight policy, and to do that they need a clear view of the overall picture. This is best achieved by aggregating (anonymised) real operational data from the freight industry itself.

“iMOVE wants to find ways for governments and businesses to work together to make this happen.”

Download the report

We’ve made the final report, Multimodal Freight Data Exchange: Pilot projects summary report available for download. Click the button below to download the document.


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