How Blockchain Is Transforming the Logistics Sphere

Logistics hub

Across all types of industries, blockchain is being touted for its ability to provide secure, transparent, and verifiable transactions across the entire supply chain. It has the ability to impact every aspect of the chain, improving trust, speed, and the reliability of data and transactions. There’s a lot of hype surrounding the technology, and a lot of conflicting views on its usefulness.

But what are some solid examples that prove blockchain’s ability to live up to its reputation? Below are four case studies illustrating the way in which industry leaders have been able to significantly improve supply chain and logistics operations through the use of blockchain.

Shipping

Last year, international shipping giant Maersk joined forces with IBM and 94 other organizations to form an industry-wide blockchain-based trading platform. The purpose is to provide the customer with end-to-end supply chain solutions, including freight forwarding and trade finance.

While still in its infancy, the platform, named TradeLens, aims to digitize the supply chain, with a focus on the $3.2 trillion ocean-shipping industry market.

Fair Trade

“Big coffee” has dominated coffee farming and distribution for decades. However, blockchain is now disrupting this industry by offering transparency regarding where coffee beans are grown, processed, and brought to market.

One such Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based platform is bext360, which can show proof of origin and transport, and use smart contracts to provide payment to stakeholders. Blockchain transparency is becoming a critical tool in supporting small farmers who were previously invisible within the supply chain.

Cannabis

Last year, Canada-based Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. and DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. formed CannaChain Technologies to develop a blockchain-based supply chain management system and e-commerce marketplace for the legal cannabis industry.

This new multibillion-dollar industry depends on verification at every step, from field to sale, making this sector a perfect candidate for blockchain technology. Total transparency, which is required to prove products’ authenticity and compliance, can now be achieved with ease.

Pharmaceuticals

MediLedger, a joint venture by Pfizer and Genentech, was launched in 2017 with the vision of providing “an open and decentralized network for the pharmaceutical supply chain.” The goal is to provide compliance and trace regulations, ensure the security of the drug supply and patient safety, allow for simplified payment processes, and serve as a platform for bringing about overall business transformation. This system could allow for the transfer of serial-number ownership, for example, between a manufacturer and a wholesaler while enforcing smart contract rules.

In an interview with Marc Watrous, senior vice president of managed care and customer operations at Genentech, he said that a proof of concept had been completed, and that the project should be operational by 2023. The team working on the project was able to fully encrypt all transaction information and ensure that no confidential information was shared in the process. The test also proved that users could validate a medicine’s origin and serial number transfer using the blockchain-based system. Once operational, MediLedger’s platform will offer the transparency, safety, and traceability that are so difficult to prove in today’s global pharmaceutical market.

Looking Ahead

Blockchain is now being used on a global scale across industries of all kinds, allowing for trusted and secure transactions among all supply chain partners. And with the technology gaining traction every day, it looks as though it will continue to transform the future of logistics.

Image Credit: Travel mania / Shutterstock.com

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