Mar 1, 2018

2 min

The Wave Of Change: When IoT & Blockchain meet Logistics

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Blockchain is revolutionizing the world. The shared, distributed ledger facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets. Users can access and inspect data, but they cannot change or delete it. It makes the digital data tamper-resistant. Initially, Blockchain was intended for financial area, as it can record, track, and verify transactions or anything that holds value. In fact, the Blockchain’s potential can be used in other industries.

Blockchain and logistics: it’s a match

Blockchain technology ensures better data handling and high level of process automation. It results in greater transparency and traceability that help to reach significant efficiency gains.

In the area of logistics, there is a clear need to catch up. Bill of lading (a sea freight shipment document) represents a great example. BOL is one of the most important documents. It is required for shipping any kind of goods and acts together as a receipt and a contract. All along the route of the shipment, the bill has to be sent back and forth several times between sender, consignee, carrier, banks, insurance. It requires time and causes enormous costs. An electronic equivalent of a paper bill of lading didn’t find a wide acceptance in the industry. However, Blockchain is expected to improve the situation.

Relevant Logistics 4.0: The Most Important Technological Trends

Blockchain can help to streamline logistics processes by:

  • Tracking related documents
  • Connecting goods with barcodes, RFID tags, etc.
  • Recording transfer of assets between supply chain nodes
  • Verifying certifications of products
  • Sharing data with vendors and suppliers

 Benefits for all involved parties include:

  • Enhanced transparency
  • Greater security
  • Increased innovation

The benefits of the Blockchain technology are much promising, and there are various application scenarios for logistics industry. However, it will still take quite a while before it will be comprehensively implemented.

Relevant Blockchain & Bitcoin: Main Facts

Project examples already being undertaken

Port of Rotterdam

In 2016, the Port of Rotterdam, the largest shipping port in Europe, announced its participation in Blockchain consortium focused on logistics. The members of the consortium are testing apps for sharing logistical and contractual information between parties.

Moreover, last year the Municipality of Rotterdam in cooperation with the Port of Rotterdam Authority launched a so-called ‘BlockLab’. The research lab will develop concrete applications and solutions based on blockchain technology.

The partners expect to investigate Blockchain’s potential in organizing port logistics and cargo flows more efficiently.

Port of Antwerp

The port of Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe by container capacity, launched a pilot project for container logistics operation automation.

In fact, container logistics usually involves more than 30 different parties. This process results in hundreds of interactions between those parties carried out by different kind of communication technologies (e-mail, phone, fax, etc.).

For that reason, the Belgium-based Port of Antwerp has a goal to streamline the interactions between port customers to prevent the malicious data manipulation.

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