The data privacy challenge of tracking LTL shipments

Jun 5, 2020
Innovation

In the era of cloud solutions and data sharing, privacy has become a major focus for consumers, governments and tech companies alike. In Europe, data security and privacy concerns (and regulations) tend to be higher than in the US, for example. The introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) means that companies operating or selling in the EU must ensure high standards of data protection and privacy by managing personal data very carefully. It requires the implementation of a strong security policy to protect personal data. This implies that any parties involved in sharing personal data are only allowed to access data that is relevant to their own activities.

One of the major benefits of transportation visibility solutions, is that they allow all stakeholders to be able to easily share their data with partners and clients, which can greatly optimize operations and reduce costs. This data can be shared via online portals, email, SMS, mobile applications and tracking URLs. However, this ease of sharing and accessing data creates the potential for it to be misused.

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LTL transportation can raise data privacy concerns in particular since carriers carry goods for several customers in the same shipment. This results in carriers often opting not to share tracking data because:

(i) they do not want to disclose how they carry out their cross docking operations and / or

(ii) they want to prevent customers from seeing each other’s trips and milk run delivery stops.

It’s a hot topic for many carriers, and shippers alike, because this disincentive to share location data for carriers shipping LTLs makes it hard for all parties involved to attain accurate ETAs.

This prevents the same standard of end-to-end visibility from being achieved as other load types, and can impact customer satisfaction levels and costs (such as late penalties or expedited shipping charges). In order to customize the level of information available, visibility solutions must offer tools to make it easy to manage user access and ensure each stakeholder sees only the data they are allowed to see. To overcome carrier concerns, Shippeo’s platform has some smart data privacy features to ensure data is shared between stakeholders responsibly, and is 100% GDPR compliant.

Firstly, by using custom integrations with a carrier TMS or telematics systems, the platform accesses crucial TO info to better contextualise the tracking data being collected. This in turn allows location data from trucks carrying LTLs to only be recorded when the truck is carrying out the specific transport order being tracked. The platform is also able to create a custom ‘privacy screen’, hiding actual location data of the position of a truck (or even a whole fleet), sharing only the delivery ETA. These types of features can easily be overlooked when evaluating transportation visibility solutions, but ensure high-standards of compliance can be guaranteed at all times.

Here are some more key things to look out for when investigating a transportation visibility solution’s data privacy policies and capabilities:

  • Make sure the provider clarifies Terms of Use outlining how data will be shared and used by shippers and carriers. This will clarify things like whether the data can be used for benchmarking or research purposes, for example.
  • Carriers should not be monitored outside of their trips (i.e. monitored continuously) as this is effectively a privacy breach. Make sure you ask your provider when and where the tracking starts and ends
  • Make sure the provider also follows strict security protocols (e.g. ISO 27001), is able to certify that the data you share with them, and store on its platform, is safe and properly managed
  • Another requirement for GDPR compliance is entering into a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) specifying each party’s obligations regarding personal data protection, before giving a visibility service provider the rights to access and process your data on your behalf

For more expert advice on best-in-class data management practices for visibility solutions, get in touch with our team for a demo today.

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