EDI in the Shipping/Logistics Industry?


EDI has often been referred to as the lifeblood of the logistics industry. Implementing a proper EDI solution can do all kinds of incredible things for the shipping/logistics industry. It can improve operational efficiency, increase visibility into their supply chain, and most of all, strengthen customer relationships throughout their ecosystem.

The EDI in the shipping industry helps manage the documentation for

EDI in the Shipping Industry - Commport Communications

Logistics Chain Operations in Shipping Industry

Here is the list of logistics chain operations that use EDI in shipping industry. In other words, this is how the data will flow in a normal day-to-day operation in the shipping industry,

  1. Exporters
  2. Freight Forwarders
  3. Customs Broker
  4. Customs Officer
  5. Shipping agents/NVOCCs
  6. Port Operators

Why it’s Important to be EDI compliant for Shipping Industries

A recent survey data shows that poor integration overall led to 14% of companies losing $1 million or more in 2021, and nearly 1 in 4 lost $500,000 or more

Shipping/Logistics companies that aren’t EDI compliant are going to soon realize how quickly fines can add up. Going one step further, besides costing your company money, non-compliance impacts the trust companies have built with trading partners, jeopardizing those relationships, and lowering the competitive threshold.

How to Get Started With EDI for Shipping Industry

Here are the steps to get started with EDI,

Step 1: Understand EDI Standards

You as a business need to understand what standards apply to your shipping company so that you can use EDI effectively. There are two main standards used today: ISO 20022 (EDIFACT) and EDI ANSI X12 Standard.

Step 2: Setup Your EDI Solution

Identify whether you want to build your own in-house EDI solution or want to use managed EDI services from 3rd party provider. Once you’ve set up your EDI solution, you’ll need to add your customers and vendors to the system. This will allow your shipping company to automatically send and receive EDI documents electronically.

Step 3: Create Your EDI Document Templates

You can use EDI templates to make sure your shipping company has everything it needs to process orders quickly and efficiently. If you’re using a third-party service provider, ask them what kind of template they need to work with.

Step 4: Start using Your EDI Solution

Now you can automate your entire data exchange process with your business partners. It’s easy to set up, and once you do, you won’t ever have to worry about manually entering data again.

Benefits of Using EDI in the Shipping Industry

The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) allows companies to exchange information electronically between each other, which helps reduce paperwork and costs associated with paper documents.

Here are eight reasons why it’s worth considering

1. Reduce Costs

EDI is an electronic data interchange (EDI) system used by shippers to exchange information with carriers and other parties involved in the transportation process. It allows companies to share information electronically instead of manually entering data into paper forms. This saves time and money.

2. Increase Efficiency

EDI also helps businesses save time and money by increasing efficiency. By using EDI, shippers can automate processes such as invoicing, tracking shipments, and receiving payments. They can also use EDI to track inventory and manage customer orders more efficiently.

3. Eliminate Errors

EDI allows companies to eliminate errors and reduce costs. It also improves customer service because customers receive accurate bills and invoices.

4. Streamline Operations

EDI helps streamline operations by reducing manual data entry and eliminating errors. This reduces the need for human intervention, which means less time spent processing paperwork and more time spent doing what matters most – serving customers.

5. Access information in Real time

The introduction of EDI in the shipping industry is considered a boon in many ways. One of them is accessing real-time information. This helps avoid possible delays in sending or receiving data/documents. 

6. Integrated communication system

Thanks to the EDI, you can now have an integrated communication system in place for all your shipping operations. The one communication flow ensures traceability, integrated transactions such as purchase orders, order receipts, invoices, pending payments, and more. 

7. Environment-friendly

EDI reduces 99.99% of paperwork required in your business

you can save a few dollars otherwise spent on:

  • Buying paper
  • Postal service
  • Document storage
  • Loss-proof documentation
  • Improve customer service
8. Improve trading partner relations

EDI helps you to communicate with your trading partners swiftly. Unlike paper documentation which takes more time to convey a message


The integration of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in the shipping industry marks a transformative shift towards enhanced efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration. By facilitating the seamless exchange of critical documents such as bills of lading, invoices, and shipping notices, EDI streamlines logistics processes, reduces manual errors, and accelerates the flow of information across the maritime supply chain. As the shipping industry embraces digitalization, EDI emerges as a cornerstone technology, fostering a more connected, transparent, and agile global shipping ecosystem.

Ready to find out more about Commport EDI Solutions?

Contact us today for a free quote!

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Frequently Asked Questions

EDI plays a crucial role in the shipping industry by enabling the electronic exchange of documents like bills of lading, invoices, and shipping notices. It streamlines communication, reduces paperwork, and enhances overall efficiency in logistics processes.

EDI benefits shipping companies and logistics providers by automating document exchange, minimizing errors, improving data accuracy, and accelerating the processing of critical information. It contributes to streamlined operations and increased collaboration among stakeholders.

Yes, EDI facilitates communication between various entities in the maritime supply chain. Shipping companies, ports, customs authorities, and other stakeholders can exchange standardized electronic documents seamlessly, promoting interoperability.

Yes, EDI can be configured to comply with international shipping standards. It is adaptable to various industry standards such as UN/EDIFACT or ANSI X12, ensuring compatibility with global trading partners and regulatory requirements.

EDI contributes to sustainability by reducing paper usage, minimizing manual processes, and optimizing logistics efficiency. The streamlined communication it enables helps in lowering the environmental footprint of shipping operations.

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