Announcing ISTA Distribution Environment Data Collection Program and Open RFP

ISTA’s mission to empower the people and organizations affecting packaging to minimize product damage throughout distribution and optimize resource usage through effective package design continues to be greatly influenced by packaged-product performance testing. As part of our strategic plan to deliver on this mission, ISTA is in process of developing a new Distribution Environment Data Collection Program with the primary goal of expanding our distribution environment data resources. This data will then be leveraged to improve current testing protocols, add new testing protocols, and create a world-class data repository that can be leveraged by ISTA, and its members, to better model distribution locally, nationally, and internationally.

Through both directly-funded research and industry collaboration, we’ve set a goal to obtain atmospheric, vibration, storage and handling data that meets our established Data Collection Standards for five prioritized global distribution routes. This data will then be developed and implemented into ISTA test procedures as deemed appropriate by the ISTA Testing Council and Technical Division Board.

Based on research using trade data from the World Bank and others, ISTA’s Technical Division Board decided upon the following approach:
  • Gather data for the ocean route of Asia to the EU (Shanghai to Rotterdam). This data can then be adjusted to scale for various ocean transport distances.
  • Gather data for two of the top global ports ranging across locations of interest, such as Shanghai and Rotterdam. This data collection effort will determine if there are substantive handling differences at the various ports or if all major ports can reasonably be modeled the same.
  • Collect data for the top five inter-regional land routes of interest for which data is currently deemed to be non-representative:
  1. China (within and between Shanghai and Guangzhou)
  2. India (within and between Kandla and New Delhi)
  3. European Union (within and between Rotterdam and Berlin)
  4. Mexico (within and between Veracruz and Mexico City)
  5. Japan (within and between Tokyo and Osaka)
  • As a first pilot phase, we will focus on data collection for a land route.
This approach will yield data that can then be segmented to model global distribution routes. It is also intended to serve as a starting point and not an end goal. We are also interested in working with members of the community who own data for routes outside of these identified target areas and have interest in sharing and building the ISTA data repository. This will ultimately serve to improve testing and package design globally.

How you can participate:
We intend to collect the data through both directly-funded research, by issuing RFPs and selecting research partners, and via industry collaboration. There are multiple ways for your organization to participate in this program:

1. Route Access: ISTA members that have commercial partnerships in these targeted ocean, port or land routes can partner with our selected research organization to provide product, shipment logistics (routes and carriers) and access to allow the research partner to collect the desired data. The benefit of this participation is that the member will receive the shipment data for their own use. Please contact me, Brian O’Banion, ISTA VP of Research & Education, to note your interest in this initiative.

2. Data Sharing: Companies with data for these targeted ocean, port or land routes can share their data with ISTA, assuming the data meets ISTA’s data collection requirements as defined in the recently released Data Collection Standards. If you have data available, please contact ISTA directly to discuss the benefits of data sharing. You can also complete the online submission form(s) at the following link: click here, to the best of your ability, and ISTA will contact you after receiving your submission.

3. Research: Researchers interested in submitting proposals for Distribution Environment Data Collection Program RFPs should contact me, Brian O’Banion, at ISTA directly to note your interest. All RFPs will be sent directly to any researcher with noted interest at the time of publishing.

We are excited for this opportunity to collaborate with the ISTA community to continue pushing package performance testing and design forward.