Marine Transport International (MTI) has conducted a successful pilot of blockchain technology, which it claims could revolutionize maritime logistics.
The pilot, carried out by MTI in conjunction with Agility Sciences, a specialist in distributed ledgers, lends weight to the idea that the logistics industry could see improvements in connectivity, efficiency and security as a result of blockchain. The results were validated by scientists at the University of Copenhagen and Bloc (Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration), a Copenhagen start-up.
MTI, which provides freight forwarding technology to shipping companies worldwide, has since released a white paper detailing its project, which saw a new ‘Container Streams’ system deployed in its supply chain environment.
Shared data, greater trust
The system combines data on suppliers, shippers, load points, customs and terminals on a shared blockchain ledger, drawing that data from a wide range of data sources, including legacy systems, and making it available to all parties involved.
According to Jody Cleworth, CEO of MTI, blockchain technology has to potential to transform the way the logistics is carried out around the globe.
“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,” he said.
Cleworth added that blockchain is the best way to connect all industry parties. “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, he added, the shipping industry has fallen victim to industrial-scale cyberattacks, leaving large shipping lines, such as Maersk, completely paralysed 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.”
Karim Jabbar, from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen, said: “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.”
Deanna MacDonald, CEO of Bloc, added: “We have documented the first phase of this use case, its implications for the maritime industry and the resulting development of a turn-key application ecosystem for global supply chain logistics.
“However, the future potential of this ecosystem platform will rest upon collaboration from the different actors in these supply chains in order to clearly identify the problems and co-create applications that solve for the collective challenges they are facing today.”