International Transportation Planner™
This is a tool that assists in the planning and evaluation of international shipping channels. The central concept is that of a transportation channel template and the set of consistency rules thereof. A transportation channel template is selected based on the nature of the items being shipped, and a number of actual channels can then be automatically constructed from the database of services and government regulations, fees and taxes.
International Transportation Planner™ is a web based application that defines multi-modal international transportation channels for goods, and characterizes them in terms of total transportation cost and performance. It features an advanced object model that defines and supports the transportation planning process. It enables the construction, population, and utilization of a number of databases that define the transportation environment and instantiate the transportation planning model.
International Transportation Planner™ supports the following:
A transportation requirement is a collection of specifications for the movement of goods through the transportation system. It is stated in terms of origins, destinations, route restrictions, cost and service time requirements, types and amounts of goods, equipment restrictions, transportation modes, and frequency or schedule. A transportation requirement represents a problem to be solved by the system. A solution to this problem is called a transportation plan, which is generated using the information in the transportation environment.
A transportation plan is a solution for a transportation problem posed by a transportation requirement. It comprises the means, allocations, costs, and services times. The means are represented by a transportation channel. The allocations represent the amounts and types of goods that are allocated to flow through each part of the channel. The costs and service times are computed using the transportation channel, allocations, and the associated services and governances. If the amount of material to be moved is small relative to the capacity of the transportation channel, then channel capacity and time phasing of the movements does not have to be considered.
The transportation environment includes the transportation services database, the transportation governance database, a list of defined transportation channels and transportation channel templates, and supporting information.
A transportation channel represents the means part of a solution to a transportation problem. It comprises all of the steps necessary to move goods between and origin and destination, and characterizes the process in terms of expected service time and costs. A channel is a collection transportation links. A LINK connects a pair of specific locations, called STOPS. A link may be a LEG, a SUB-CHANNEL, or a CONNECTION. A leg directly represents an origin and destination, which are specific and distinct, the types of goods being shipped, the transportation mode, and the type of equipment being used. A sub-channel is a channel, but has specific and distinct origin and destination. A connection has an origin and destinnation that are the same, and represents activities within a stop not logically associated with a leg. Each link has a list of associated costs, including transportation services with the service providers, and governances such as duties, fees, and taxes.
Transportation Channel Template
A transportation channel template is an abstract transportation channel in which certain aspects are variable. A transportation channel template always completely characterizes the services and governances required to perform the required movements. A transportation channel template is used to generate a transportation channel from the transportation environment. The channel templates in the system collectively represent the system's knowledge of what constitutes a complete and consistent transportation channel.
Transportation Channel Validation Rules
This is a rule base used for ensuring the validity of a transportation channel template.
Least Cost Solutions and Best Performance Solutions
A number of solutions to a transportation problem can be examined. One may be selected base on least cost or best performance criteria. The solutions examined may be already constructed transportation channels, and/or transportation channels dynamically constructed from matching transportation channel templates, services, and governances in the transportation environment.
Transportation Services Database
A database of transportation services that can be used to satisfy the requirements of a transportation channel template. Costs associated with the services are characterized as charges, surcharges, discounts, and accessorials. Unpredictable surcharges may be evaluated with respect to their probability or occurrence. Quality of service is given in terms of expected service time, and service time variance. A transportation service can also be associated with a specific schedule.
A transportation community is a collection of organizations that are offered a special rate by a transportation service provider. Private rates may be defined in terms of communities of one. Communities rates are visible only to communities members.
A transportation organization may have one or more of the following roles: transportation service provider, transportation client, or transportation facilitator. Organizations may be associated with communities. Service provider organizations are associated with mode, equipment, services, rates, schedules, and regions of operation.
Transportation Governance Database
A database of duties, taxes, and fees imposed by governments of the countries involved.
Provide assistance in ensuring compliance with international customs regulations. This includes compilations of controlled items and substances, documentation and registration requirements, licensing and reporting.
The cost transportation services are computed using formulas that are defined for each cost source. Cost formulas are given in terms of cost/rate tables, and support time-of-day or seasonal sensitive costing.
Multi-dimensional Cost/Rate Table
A multi-dimensional table in which costs and rates are looked up based on zero or more parameters. These parameters are extracted from the transportation channel and the bill of goods being moved through the channel. Each dimensional cost/rate table of a cost rate table may be a cost or rate interval look-up or an interpolation.
The system supports characterizing good and materials in terms of HS codes. The Harmonized System is a commodity classification system in which articles are grouped largely according to the nature of the materials of which they are made, as has been traditional in customs nomenclatures. It was developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) now known as the World Customs Organization (WCO). The WCO, located in Brussels, is an international organization consisting of representatives of about 139 countries or territories. See Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated
The system supports characterizing goods and materials by standard hazmat codes. See IDENTIFICATION NUMBER INDEX
Each link of a transportation channel is associated with one or more phases of the transportation process. The basic phases include origin, origin-to-origin-port, origin-port, origin-port-to_destination_port, intermediate-port, destination-port, destination-port-to-destination, and destination. The phase of the links in a sub-channel are determined by the phase of that sub-channel as a link in the parent channel.
The transportation modes include ocean, air, rail, and truck.
Cost types include preparation, packing, loading, carriage, insurance, unloading, storage, handling, inspection, documentation, duties and taxes, licensing, and forwarder fees.
The category of a cost is determined by cost type, and transportation phase. They include costs at origin, carriage to port-of-origin, port receiving charges, loading at port-of-origin, forwarders fees, main carriage, main carriage insurance, charges in port-of-destination, customs and duties, delivery charges.
To provide a common terminology for international shipping and minimize misunderstandings, the International Chamber of Commerce developed a set of terms, known as Incoterms. The system supports segregation of costs to importer and exporter based on incoterms, and cost category.
Transportation equipment is classified according to mode and function, capacity, and maximum dimensions and type of goods. Equipment functions include platform, container, and handling.
Transportation costs may be given in terms of weight, volume, or a combination of both know as effective weight, in which volume is converted to weight and the maximum of actual weight and the converted volumetric weight is used as the effective weight. The conversion factor used depend on the transportation mode of the service and is generally standard.
A location may be SIMPLE or COMPOUND. A simple location is given as a latitude/longitude, postal address, postal (or zip) code, city, or a transportaion facility, such as an airport (eg. IATA code), or ocean port. A compound location is a collection of simple locations of one type, a region defined as a simple polygon whose vertices are simple locations and whose edges are great circles or rhumbs, a postal address with regular expressions, or a range given as a distance from a simple location. A SPECIFIC location is a complete address, a transportation facility (such as a port), or a lat/long pair. Locations are partially ordered by the containment relation. All simple locations should have at least an approximate latitude/longitude.
A transportation channel may be structure to support the merging of loads during the transportation process.
Access to the system is controlled by organization and user. Organizations have lists of designated users. Each organization has a distinguished user know as the organization administrator. Users have login accounts, and perform the actions on the system during sessions defined using HTTPS. A distinguished organization know as the system owns and controls access to the entire system. A distinguished system user known as the system administrator controls the overall operation of the entire system and has access to all data on the system. An organization's access to the system is controlled by the system administrator. Each user must belong to an organization and be granted access to the system by that organization's administrator. Information is owned by the organization of the user that entered the information. Information access in the transportation environment is controlled by the information owner. User access may be controlled by level and capability. The lowest level is public, and information on the public level may be accessed by any user on the system. Access capabilities are read and write. Write access may further may be further refined in terms of insert, delete, and update.
The system is organized into two main components: a back-end or engine, and a front-end or application. The front-end communicated with the back end by sending XML formatted requests to the back-end, and receiving XML formatted responses from the back-end. The back-end communicates with the database using Datamaster.
International Transportation Planner™ uses any relational database system as a data repository. It is software that makes SENSE.