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Jody Cleworth - Marine Transport International

Logistics industry will see improved connectivity, efficiency and security with blockchain

A successful pilot program delivered by logistics technology company Marine Transport International (MTI) has demonstrated that the logistics industry will see improved connectivity, efficiency and security thanks to blockchain.

MTI, in conjunction with Agility Sciences, have today released a white paper detailing the deployment of their 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 leaders at Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration (BLOC).

Jody Cleworth, CEO of Marine Transport International, comments: “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.

"We will need to be able to communicate between multiple block chains and work interoperatively. We have already created some work to do this so that we can communicate between multiple devices, blockchains and legacy systems so it would be one single version of communication between the blockchains.

“A blockchain-enabled supply chain is highly resilient to cyber attack – 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.

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.”

Cleworth goes on the say that the cost entry is quite low, it is more about having the right people with the right skills to get this done. 

"A conservative estimate is a cost saving of 90%. In the shipping and logistics industry we are very good with new regulations and milestones, putting in an end-perfect way of managing it: 'This is what it is going to cost me to manage a specific milestone'. 

The cost saving here comes through the automation of data, you have all these different data silos which have data locked in them or which is not being communicated in an effective way. Smart contact takes the data from those different points and processes it, removing the requirement for human beings to interact with it. We are able then to process that data and format it, whether is it a new system or an old system we can use a blockchain to do that work for us reducing admin costs."

"What people find difficult to get over is that you have your local sales force and internal reporting system to put in numbers and data and using that to augment the outcome or create a spreadsheet, blockchain will actually do this job based on existing parameters so the programmability of the technology.

This can be applied in the food supply chain, firstly to guarantee provenance, "You know where the product has come from and where it is going to. Transactions become frictionless, we can remove the amount of paper work which is required in terms of moving that data between parties. There are a lot of certificates and regulations in terms of what gets exported to where. Regulatory bodies would normally only follow up regulations when it is necessary. With data entering the blockchain the regulators would be able to follow it up based on specific parameters, they would be able to read those contracts or certificates in real-time.

Effectively what we have done with our white paper is to pull in data as soon as that container starts loading, growers can record specific yields for each commodity and enter photos etc. along with all the weather data to attest to the quality of product which consumers are buying. This data entering process can continue along the chain whether it is to a coldstore or to be processed or straight to the retailer, you can follow the chain the whole way through. The management of that data would be automated based on data coming into the system from different points.

"When we have discussions with food producers they want to unlock that data source which is coming into the blockchain to prove the provenance and certification of those goods. This system would also take away inefficiencies in the supply chain and allow more 'just in time' deliveries, doing away with bulk delivery discounts.

For more information:
Jody Cleworth
Marine Transport International

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