Since the first implementation of blockchain with Bitcoin back in 2008, it has signaled a strong prospect to upend the way many industries work. Most recently, the sector that has been in the spotlight of this transformation is the transport and logistics industry. For most logistic companies, the ability to move and track goods effectively across the supply chain is one of the many blessings blockchain has showered it with. And the trend has already begun, with logistic heavyweights like UPS, Maersk and BNSF railway joining the blockchain transport alliance. Analysts from ICO agency IBC Group are prospecting more growth in the following sectors of the transportation and logistics industry:
1. Freight Tracking
Tracking goods in transit isn’t a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, logistic companies have been employing GPS technology for decades, in a bid to effectively track freight hauling assets. Historically, updates were relayed via fax machines and check calls, but these were later replaced by automated systems such as APIs and EDIs. Even so, the industry is faced with outrageous customers’ expectations, coupled with retailer’s promises to deliver packages on the said day of purchase, and traditional tracking methods don’t seem to seem to scale up to these demands. As a result of this unreliability, logistic companies can leverage on blockchain technology to address new demands and satisfy existing inadequacies.
Hauling companies need constantly updated information so that they can be in a position to make proactive decisions and share data so that other systems and users can do the same. This ensures the authenticity of data, which is crucial to decision making. You see, as data and information pass through several avenues, there is the risk of tampering and misinterpretation, which can throw the whole logistic process out of balance, causing mayhem in the global supply chain. However, blockchain’s decentralized nature brings trusts in the entire system because the integrity of its data cannot be compromised.
2. Carrier Onboarding
Carrier onboarding has been a big challenge for the logistics business for a long time because it comprises of validating several records of a carrier’s driver to confirm that they met the minimum service requirements. Historically, brokers and shipping companies relied on couriers to provide such information either in paper or electronic format. The problem is, though logistic companies have dedicated teams and departments to validate such information, it cannot be shared with other companies. This implies that each transport and logistics business has to invest its resources and time to verify documents that have been verified by other shipping companies.
This problem can be easily eliminated by using blockchain to share, store and validate documents. Instead of every company wasting internal resources to validate carriers, a shared database can be created within the blockchain network where members have unlimited access. This allows logistic companies to access data without having to mobilize so many resources.
3. Trusting Load Board
The biggest concern associated with load boards is the integrity of its data.
In most cases, load board data is normally inauthentic and outdated, making it hard for shippers to make reliable decisions. You see, when a logistic company is working with several freight brokers to haul goods, the data is usually fed into several load boards, resulting to data duplication and inaccurate forecasts. Due to this unreliability, most organizations are finding it hard to use load boards.
Such data integrity challenges can be eliminated by incorporating blockchain technology at the heart of transportation businesses. When a load is posted on the blockchain, it is time stamped with all of its crucial information, eliminating the risk of duplication and misinformation.
Whenever a broker “A” attempts to post a load on the blockchain, it first checks to see whether the load already exists, by comparing it to the available time stamp information. If another broker “B” attempts to make a similar entry, the technology identifies it as a duplicate, then alerts the user. This ensures that every load is entered once to avoid duplication. Additionally, this models also deals with the issue of outdated data. Whenever a carrier updates a load on the blockchain, every load board automatically reflects the new status.