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Blockchain offers logistics solution

Occasionally in this news feed Intelligent Sourcing looks at technologies that are becoming important. Hence this slightly niche case study – it might not affect many of our readers directly but everyone’s going to need to be aware of blockchain in some way.

Marine Transport International (MTI), has put together a pilot project for logistics based on the new technology. The project, which has connected supplier, shipper, load point, customs and terminal on a shared blockchain ledger, seeks new ways to improve security and profitability. All parties involved in the supply chain benefit from automated data flows as the system allows complete interoperability of data sources, even including legacy systems.

Jody Cleworth, CEO of Marine Transport International, commented in a press release: “The results of this successful pilot demonstrate the strengths of blockchain technology when deployed to link the various actors in the supply chain. We are confident that firms throughout the logistics industry will see a broad spectrum of benefits stemming from blockchain deployment.

“The blockchain has proven to be an excellent way of connecting the different parties involved in any supply chain environment due to the transparency and security-by-design of the technology. In recent months the shipping industry has fallen victim to industrial-scale cyberattacks which have left large shipping lines, such as Maersk, completely paralyzed and unable to serve clients.

“A blockchain-enabled supply chain is highly resilient to cyberattack – a copy of the essential shipping data is stored on each node on a decentralised network, meaning that even if one node is compromised, the data is safe nevertheless.

“The business case for connecting supply chains using blockchain is very strong. As the interface is easily adaptable to existing systems there is a very low barrier to entry.  Any type of supply chain business, be it marine-, air-, or land-based, can take advantage of such a system – the cost savings that we envisage are as high as 90%, as a result of substantially streamlined processes.”

Karim Jabbar, from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen, added: “This pilot demonstrates the great potential for distributed ledger technologies to be used in improving supply chain processes. The Container Streams system is unique in the fact that it does not require the complete replacement of existing systems – instead, MTI’s solution allows complete interoperability with existing legacy infrastructure. The logistics industry as a whole can expect better visibility, connectivity and cost savings as a result of distributed ledger adoption.”

MTI, in conjunction with Agility Sciences, has released a white paper detailing the deployment of its Container Streams system in a supply chain environment. The results of the pilot have been verified by scientists at the University of Copenhagen and maritime technology leads at Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC).

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