Spotlight on blockchain at ‘Blocklab’
30 October 2017
Blockchain technology is the ‘in thing’. It seems certain that it will control the logistics chain in a few years. Blockchain offers many advantages. It makes goods flows transparent, manageable and reliable. Ritra Cargo has been involved in the developments around blockchain from the outset and has a clear vision in this regard. That is why our colleague Ad Schoenmakers was invited to speak at the ‘Blocklab’ event.
Clients will receive goods more quickly
The logistics chain revolves around the goods flow management process. By sharing data about these logistics movements via blockchain, individual processes in the chain can be carried out more quickly and efficiently. For example, arranging payments, releasing containers, as well as final shipments.
Ad was interviewed about these and other benefits of blockchain technology at the opening of Blocklab. This initiative by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the municipality of Rotterdam was set up to develop specific projects and solutions for the logistics chain, based on blockchain technology.
Ad explained to an audience of about 300 that blockchain concerns different layers in the chain. You need to have perfect control over all those elements, especially as a (small) freight forwarder:
- Goods flow: your consignment(s) that go from A to B
- Data stream: real-time updates about ETD and ETA, amongst others
- Communications stream: messages about consignment(s)
- Documents stream: sending ownership and/or value documentation, such as the B/L
- Revenue stream – payment administration
Some of these streams are unnecessarily long at present, because certain data is not available immediately. Blockchain will solve that issue, allowing for better coordination of individual processes.
Thanks to blockchain, fewer actions will therefore be needed in the chain and those actions will also be able to be carried out more quickly. For example, whereas a B/L is currently still sent by courier, this will happen digitally with blockchain. Ultimately, containers will be processed more quickly with blockchain technology, so clients will receive their goods more quickly. Ad: “Ultimately, blockchain will enable better service to our clients and naturally, that is something we always aspire to”.
Blockchain is the new reality
Ad has been involved in developments around blockchain technology for many years, and with good reason. Why is it that blockchain has such a promising future? This is best explained using Bitcoin, the digital currency that is based on blockchain technology:
- Entirely digital
- Made with cryptography, which makes it completely secure and reliable
- It has no owner, it is an open network
The way blockchain works means it is impossible to commit fraud. And because it is an open network, no third parties are involved as in the case of banks. This makes blockchain a reliable and future-proof technology. However, it may have far-reaching consequences for intermediary parties such as banks. Ad: “Give careful consideration to your current revenue model, because that is going to change for everyone”.
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