The nice thing about the Information and Communication Technology industry is that you work in and are exposed to various industry segments. I was lucky enough to work in the defense, insurance, retail, financial and lately in the transport industries only to mention a few.
Transport industry focusing on shipping
The transport industry is however enormous, if you look at everything from subway's, commuter bus services, railway systems, large truck's moving goods, and container ships moving goods across the globe. The last mentioned is where I was involved for the past few months. Like a mentioned before, this is an enormous industry, moving thousands and thousands of goods in containers across the world. As can be expected, this brings a huge amount of challenges from a logistics and more specifically a software and systems perspective.
The shipping industry are extremely important to the world economy as 9/10 goods are transported on ships around the Globe.
If you just think about everything involved in moving any product from the manufacturing facility, through to distribution facilities, packing containers, then shipping this container to the harbor, then it must be scheduled on a ship to its destination country from where the container ship must enter the harbor and docked. Now we need to unload the container ship, store in the harbor before it is loaded on a truck, to move to another distribution center from where the end customer can finally await his delivery.
That is just a very high level, explanation of the logistics process, if you add the impact of transacting across border and clearance of goods at customs, only to mention a few more challenges in the bigger picture, I am sure we will all agree that the systems and software running these logistics and financial transacting is an enormous challenge :)
Interesting fact: You cannot unload a container ship if you do not start loading the ship at the same time, as the ship will tilt over when you unload the container ship unevenly
Well today I want to focus on how the blockchain and cryptocurrency can assist in solving this complex industry.
To be honest, it looks like Marine trade International has already took fist mover advantage in solving this conundrum, by introducing a public blockchain solution into the global shipping industry. So I do not have to say too much. Look at the press release below:
First Operational Use of Public Blockchain Technology in the Global Shipping Industry Announced
Press Release: MTI (‘Marine Transport International (UK) Limited’) today announces the deployment of the world’s first public blockchain solution in the global shipping industry. MTI is an industry-leading freight forwarder based in the United Kingdom and the United States. It provides sophisticated, technology-based freight forwarding solutions for global shipping companies worldwide.
Public blockchain technology will connect the supply chain together, in a way which the industry has never seen before. Furthermore, trust and partnership is reinforced with the blockchain, in an industry where such principles can at times be misunderstood.
It will allow companies to build efficient business ecosystems between supply chain parties or actors in the public blockchain. The blockchain will also accelerate the flow of data distributed between parties, whilst at the same time reducing reliance on the typical IT architecture that plague companies today.
With millions of transactions processed each day in the shipping industry, the public blockchain will not only increase data efficiency, but also provide long term savings for EDI transmission (Electronic Data Interchange) dependent companies.
MTI is using the TrustMe™ public blockchain technology and the services from predictive analytics expert Black Swan Data Limited. The technology will be used within its SolasVGM™ product offering to enable the secure and open dissemination of shipping container information.
Since 1st July 2016, Contracting Governments to the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS treaty (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) have been required to implement new requirements related to the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of packed containers. The new regulation puts the responsibility on the shipper to ensure that an accurate VGM is provided to the terminal/carrier for every container loaded prior to it being allowed to be shipped on-board on a vessel.
Using the TrustMe™ solution, VGM data is stored on the global blockchain, providing a permanent records visible to port officials, shippers and cargo owners. This replaces cumbersome logs, spreadsheets, data intermediaries and private databases. Previously, data has been deeply ingrained in old legacy systems. This causes delays in the development of new capabilities, hindering the ability for carriers to make rapid changes to services.
The blockchain is a data structure makes it possible to overcome these issues, creating a permanent digital public ledger of transactions which can be shared among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority. Designated parties can record and retrieve data from anywhere in the world using mobile phones, tablets and PCs, eliminating the need for costly, proprietary infrastructure.
Blockchain data is verified, immutable, and globally accessible, making it a perfect technology for solutions like the SolasVGM™ product.
You can read the full press release at the CryptoCoinNews website here
This industry is well known, for not having consensus and agreement between all stakeholders in the Value Chain. I find it very exciting that the blockchain technology can be applied in this industry and personally believe that this industry was made for the blockchain tech stack.
I have always wondered why we call something transported by car a shipment and something transported in a ship the cargo?
EDIT: Added ">" before Press release heading
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