A Multi-agent System for Coordinating International Shipping

  • Steven Y. Goldsmith
  • Laurence R. Phillips
  • Shannon V. Spires
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1571)


Moving commercial cargo across the US-Mexico border is currently a complex, paper-based, error-prone process that incurs expensive inspections and delays at several ports of entry in the Southwestern US. Improved information handling will dramatically reduce border dwell time, variation in delivery time, and inventories, and will give better control of the shipment process. The Border Trade Facilitation System (BTFS) is an agent-based collaborative work environment that assists geographically distributed commercial and government users with transshipment of goods across the US-Mexico border. Software agents mediate the creation, validation and secure sharing of shipment information and regulatory documentation over the Internet, using the World-Wide Web to interface with human actors. Agents are organized into Agencies. Each agency represents a commercial or government agency. Agents perform four specific functions on behalf of their user organizations: (1) agents with domain knowledge elicit commercial and regulatory information from human specialists through forms presented via web browsers; (2) agents mediate information from forms with diverse ontologies, copying invariant data from one form to another thereby eliminating the need for duplicate data entry; (3) cohorts of distributed agents coordinate the work flow among the various information providers and they monitor overall progress of the documentation and the location of the shipment to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met prior to arrival at the border; (4) agents provide status information to human actors and attempt to influence them when problems are predicted.


Multiagent System Sandia National Laboratory North American Free Trade Agreement Electronic Data Interchange Task Agent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Y. Goldsmith
    • 1
  • Laurence R. Phillips
    • 1
  • Shannon V. Spires
    • 1
  1. 1.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerque

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