Shippers and forwarders organizations are calling for improved standards of data protection and confidentiality in digital trading and booking systems, in a joint statement issued on Wednesday.

FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, and the Global Shippers Forum have jointly issued an agreed Charter for Protection and Governance of Data in International Trade that sets out the minimum arrangements for data security and confidentiality that providers and operators of digital booking and trading platforms should adopt and incorporate in their End-User Agreements (EUAs). Recommendations in the Charter seek to enable a safe and trustworthy environment for conducting business based on a level playing field.

The Charter has been approved by members of both organizations and is believed to be the first declaration of rights for platform users in the trade and logistics sector.

Dr. Stéphane Graber, Director General of FIATA notes that “FIATA is committed to enabling the shift of trade from analog to digital form to increase efficiency and resilience of global supply chains."

He continued: "In this journey, interoperability between platforms and their credibility amongst users is critical for success. This requires clear and fair rules on data exchange to protect the confidentiality and ensure trust between stakeholders. FIATA is happy to lead this effort with GSF on the crucial topic of data governance and protection.”

James Hookham, Secretary General of GSF said: “Digitalisation of international trade and transport paperwork offers huge savings and benefits for all parties in the supply chain, but its storage and processing comes with risks of loss, leakage, and unauthorized use that could expose commercially sensitive patterns and trends."

Additionally, he commented, "Our Charter sets out reasonable expectations of the protections that should be in place to respect the ownership of the data, protect its confidentiality, and guard against unauthorized access and use”.

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