Globalisation has brought the most advanced trading networks the world has seen, with the biggest, fastest vessels, robot-operated ports and vast computer databases tracking cargo. But it all still relies on millions and millions of paper documents.
To make it work, dozens of shipping lines and thousands of related businesses around the world — including manufacturers, banks, insurers, brokers and port authorities — will have to work out a protocol that can integrate all the new systems onto one vast platform.
The key, as in so many other industries, from oil tankers to cryptocurrencies, is blockchain, the electronic ledger system that allows transactions to be verified autonomously.
ShipChain: Fast Emerging Blockchain Solutions Provider
Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York, blockchain logistics platform ShipChain urged attendees to harness the potential of blockchain to tackle the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce poverty, end hunger, raise living standards and more. ShipChain CEO John Monarch’s remarks were delivered to the first Blockchain for Impact Global Summit, held in New York City on June 4, 2018. The event was hosted by the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development.
Monarch and other ShipChain executives joined working groups that included high-ranking government officials and ambassadors from around the world to discuss ways that blockchain can address some of the most pressing global problems.
Blockchain for Impact (BFI), was founded to advocate for and serve the growing community of blockchain companies and stakeholders from across the global blockchain ecosystem. The organization helps its members engage with leaders from the UN system.
Digital Transformation of the Shipping Industry
Experts in the shipping and logistics industries recently convened in China for the fifth International Shipping and Internet Summit to discuss ways of applying blockchain in their business. At the Shanghai summit, participants discussed the digitization of the shipping industry, as well as the prevention of internet risks in shipping, big data, and the potential synergy between shipping and blockchain.
The business model of the maritime industry would evolve in line with the digital world once it has embraced new technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, according to Huang Jin, vice-president of DNV GL, an internally accredited registrar and shipping classification society.
Digitising the maritime sector would boost the efficiency of shipping companies because it would eliminate their dependence on intermediaries. Lian Min, whose 300cubits was the first shipping blockchain company in the world, said that using its TEU cryptocurrency would reduce some of the economic pressures on shipping investors, going on to add that blockchain could be effective in solving some of the industry’s internal problems, such as booking deposits and breach of contracts.
Collaborations to Promote Blockchain
At the New York summit, ShipChain collaborated with government officials and other companies to promote standards and the use of blockchain across global supply chains. ShipChain regards these collaborations as an important step towards taking blockchain applications mainstream. ShipChain also joined participants in discussing fiat currencies, money as debt, monetary policy, and quantitative easing.
In tests, ShipChain’s blockchain platform has successfully enhanced supply chain security and lowered costs through its end-to-end “Track and Trace” solution. On a global level, these advantages could reduce world hunger, food insecurity, and address numerous other challenges.
“We’ve worked with people here to discuss standards and advancing supply chain in blockchain, and it affirmed to us that we are advanced in what we are developing, and that the entire space of supply chain in blockchain is still very early,” said John Monarch.
“What struck me the most was how invested in blockchain technology the UN is. They are currently piloting or have piloted several use cases for blockchain technology and believe the technology can help them solve a lot of the world’s problems by the year 2030.”
ShipChain aims at making transport and logistics more effective, secure and transparent by utilising blockchain technology. The solutions envisions a fully integrated system across the entire supply chain – from the moment it leaves the factory, to delivering the finished product to the customer’s doorstep – federated in trustless, transparent blockchain contracts.
(References: Bloomberg, Cryptovest, ShipChain)
Sea News Feature, June 21