- A blockchain solution developed by Accenture could save the ocean shipping industry hundreds of million of dollars each year and reduce the need for data entry by up to 80%, according to a press release from the firm.
- An industry consortium, including AB InBev, Accenture, APL, Kuehne + Nagel and a European customs organization, tested the solution, which exchanges documents via blockchain technology, instead of physically or digitally.
- The consortium conducted a trial with 12 real shipments, each with different destinations and regulatory requirements. "The tests confirmed that blockchain can reduce operating costs and increase supply chain visibility," the release stated.
Enthusiasm for blockchain appears to be growing among the ocean freight industry, and the consortium test reveals concrete examples of how it's possible to use blockchain to increase efficiency.
Maersk has partnered with IBM and freight forwarder Agility to use blockchain for tracking container shipments. Hamburg Sud, owned by Maersk, also launched a blockchain alliance, together with an Australian tech company.
With e-commerce fueling a continued growth in shipping volumes, ocean freight needs a solution to increase efficiency, while keeping a lid on costs.
Blockchain promises to solve both of those problems.
The exchange of paper documents slows down the shipping process, whereas the blockchain "solution can speed up the entire flow of transport documents, [reducing] the requirement for data entry by up to 80 percent."
The elimination of paper and streamlining of data reporting offers cost savings for shippers, carriers and freight forwarders.
Digital exchanges of data always carry some level of cybersecurity risk, but blockchain may be one of the safest methods — it's largely considered virtually unhackable.
Cyber attacks devastated the ocean freight industry last year. If blockchain can mitigate cyber risk while simultaneously increasing efficiency and decreasing costs, it could become the gold standard for the industry.