EDIFACT stands for Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT) and is the international EDI standard developed under the supervision of the United Nations.
The EDIFACT standard provides:
- A set of syntax rules to structure data
- An interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI)
- Standard messages which allow multi-country and multi-industry exchange.
The work of maintenance and further development of this standard is done through the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) under the UN Economic Commission for Europe, in the Finance Domain working group UN CEFACT TBG5.
Within the shipping and terminal industry EDIFACT messages are ensuring a standardized data exchange and information flow (inbound and outbound messages) between the shipping lines and the terminals / ports.
Terminal efficiency depends - amongst others - in particular on the timely information about the cargo / the containers to be handled. To enable a minimum of data quality and that messages can automatically be processed, the messages are standardized and are following specific formats.
From the container terminal perspective, different standard messages are necessary to operate a vessel (e.g. BAPLIE, COPARN, MOVINS, COPRAR, CODECO, COARRI, etc.), which are exchanged between the TOS and the outer world, although most messages are sent to/from the liner.