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WFP Shipping rolls out a new real time container tracking system

WFP moves a staggering 55,000 containers annually.  In order to keep track of all these containers they have engaged GT Nexus, Inc. to provide tracking services for a large number of these shipments.  By engaging a consolidated tracking service WFP hopes to assist the country office in reducing landside costs and significantly improving efficiency. We recently sat down with the shipping team to discuss their new system.

The team has been testing the new system since March of this year with the assistance of WFP teams in the field.  One of those teams, located in Port Sudan, has helped to identify just how important such near real time tracking really is.  Earlier this year, when a delay in the delivery of pulses meant a shortfall in stocks for critical feeding programs in Darfur the Port Sudan team was able to immediately identify the gap and redirect stocks to ensure there was no drop in delivery.


The customized GT Nexus menu bar offers a number of search options

WFP moves containerized loads through 72 load ports and 78 discharge ports with the help of 67 international and regional shipping lines.  In order to establish an accurate baseline for testing purposes Stephen Cahill, Shipping Officer in WFP's Rome office, arranged with GT Nexus to track the top ten shipping lines that move the bulk of WFP's food. With the return of accurate results from this intial test group the shipping team feels confident they can soon begin monitoring over 90% of shipping traffic.


Up to date delivery information proved critical for the team in Sudan

While updates can be pulled directly from the system users can also set a reporting schedule whereby team members receive an email with an automatically generated and detailed report.  Information is exported in EDI(Electronic Data Input) and XML (Extensible Markup Language) formats as well as basic Excel spreadsheets.  These multiple formats give users numerous options when it comes to working with the data and the small size means team in even the most remote regions can receive critical updates.

Full vessel and shipment details are available to WFP teams

In the world of humanitarian logistics every day offers new challenges and it is not too often that you find a system that makes life substantially easier.  However, the new system seems to provide the shipping team with the right mix of functionality and features they have been looking for.  As Stephen puts it, "We need data just like everyone else but we also work in difficult conditions.  The system will improve and so far it has gone a long way toward helping the field offices."

For more information please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or contact Laure on the OMLS team directly:

Special thanks to:  Stephen Cahill, Laure Fischer, Phyllis Iraya and the entire WFP Shipping team .

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