- Freight forwarder Agility will be collaborating with Maersk and IBM on an application of blockchain technology to track container shipments, a company press release stated.
- The goal of the collaboration is to reduce costs while increasing efficiency by detailing information about shipments into blockchain. That information will be available to shippers, carriers, freight forwarders and others in the supply chain.
- Documentation and administration cost roughly one-fifth of the $1.8 trillion annual expense of moving goods across borders, and the shipping industry believes blockchain could help cut those costs.
Deploying blockchain within the transport process not only reveals container locations while in transit, but also displays the status of customs documents, bills of lading and other vital documentation. In addition, customs and border authorities are able to rely on blockchain for risk analysis, improving safety, security and border inspection clearance.
"To make any platform commercially viable and hit a tipping point, you need mass adoption," Biju Kewalram, vice president of operational transformation at Agility, told Supply Chain Dive.
Agility's role as a 3PL is twofold: adapting blockchain to suit both shippers and carriers, and as a result, all three may see cost savings.
"There will be alignment and operating efficiencies if all stakeholders in the supply chain contribute and provide value," Kewalram said. "A shared platform increases efficiency, and the resulting information integration increases the value of everyone’s siloed data. In the long term, you ultimately improve shipment visibility for your customer base, make customers checks cheaper, eliminate unnecessary paperwork, reduce errors and shorten transit and clearance times."