IBM: Blockchain to Save Shipping ‘Billions’ of Dollars


The Director of Research at IBM has claimed that blockchain technology could recover billions of dollars lost to coordination costs in the shipping industry, according to Coindesk's report on Arvind Krishna's presentation at its Consensus 2017 conference.

Krishna used spoiling perishable goods at Rotterdam Port, which is testing blockchain for sharing logistical and contract information, as an example of how the technology could benefit supply chains.

Krishna said: “We believe that just doing this kind of digitization can result in tens of billions of dollars saved across that network.

“A single piece of paper, if it's missing when it arrives in Rotterdam, means that a container full of avocados just sits there.

“A few days extra of sitting there and you've got to throw out the whole container because you've crossed the limit of how long those goods can sit there without being considered spoiled.”

Krishna claimed that this different approach across the whole sector could save 20% across international shipping as a shipment is typically processed by 30 organizations during its journey to market.

He highlighted the partnership between IBM and Maersk as a key example of how costs could be cut by streamlining the checks that shipping companies are required to go through as they transport goods across international borders.

However, Krishna did highlight one problem that would need to be kept in mind to ensure the technology is embraced.

“Making it scalable, making it easy, making it possible for a lot more people to adopt the technology is where a lot of technologies and companies flounder,” he said.

It was recently found that using blockchain for container transactions can slash documentation costs by over $US5 million per mega-ship.

Technical Paper: Blockchain Technology for Ports

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