The Columbus Electronic Freight Management system improved data accuracy by eliminating manual data entry from multiple partners and reduced the number of trips to verify data, the efforts to correct data, and the labor related to obtaining information about priority shipments.

June 2008
Columbus,Ohio,United States

Summary Information

In support of the USDOT Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Joint Program Office, the Columbus Electronic Freight Management (CEFM) project was performed to test an implementation of the Freight Information Highway (FIH) in a real-world, international air-freight supply chain. The CEFM system is a freight data exchange and information management concept, which relies on the Web-based FIH. CEFM obtains data from each supply chain partner, stores the data separately, and then exchanges the data with other trading partners via Web services using Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The CEFM project covers the entire air cargo supply chain, from oversea suppliers in China to the shippers' distribution centers in Columbus, Ohio. Design and development of CEFM were completed during 2006 and early 2007, and the deployment test was conducted from May 29, 2007 to December 4, 2007. The evaluation included an analysis of the consignment supply chain data that was received and exchanged by CEFM and stored for each partner.

The evaluation report includes descriptions of CEFM and defines quantitative and qualitative benefits in the following four study areas:

1. CEFM System usefulness
2. The ability of CEFM to improve cargo visibility
3. The ability CEFM to improve supply chain and logistics performance
4. Assessment of deployment scalability

The evaluation involved analyzing test data collected during the deployment test, as well as perceptions from the various supply chain partners.


Although the shipper and its partners tried to measure data quality and performance of the supply chain, none of the partners could provide any quantitative information for improvements in data quality. The Evaluation Team accrued the qualitative benefits from the data quality improvement by CEFM as follows.
  • Reduction in data entry error: Improvements in data quality could save indirect costs as well as reduce administrative costs involved in correcting errors, and reducing overall setups, idle time, and costs of expediting.
  • Labor savings from fewer warehouse data errors: Improved data accuracy at container freight stations means a reduced number of trips to the office for verification.

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Columbus Electronic Freight Management Evaluation Final Report

Author: K. Troup (North River), D. Newton (SAIC), M. Jensen (SAIC), C. Mitchell (SAIC), D. Stock (SAIC), M. Carter (SAIC), M. Wolfe (North River), and R. Schaefer (SAIC)

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation, ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, 1200 Newe Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20590

See also, Public Roads Jan/Feb 2009 article by Randy Butler, 09janfeb/06.htm "Electronic Freight Management"

Source Date: June 2008

EDL Number: 14442

Other Reference Number: DTFH61-02-C-00061



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Benefit ID: 2009-00592