Maersk has been investigating the ways in which operations involving paper based bills of lading can be revolutionised with the use of Blockchain, according to the International Business Times UK.
Typically a bill of lading still follows a very traditional, paper based way of recording the delivery of a cargo shipment, even if electronic methods are used, the old format is still followed.
Processing the paperwork for the movement of cargo is expensive, with many stops on the supply chain to be factored in such as customs, freighters and truckers; these can be as many as 100 stakeholders for a single movement of cargo.
Typically, Blockchain is the technology which runs the electronic currency system bitcoin, however their technology is also applicable to revolutionise the way company’s complete and record purchases and sales.
Blockchain itself states: “At the heart of digital currency is powerful, decentralised technology that is revolutionising the way people around the world exchange value.”
It has been confirmed that Maersk was involved in a proof of concept with Blockchain, which investigated the application of the technology to create electronic bill of ladings to replace the costly and inefficient traditional method.
Dr Roman Beck, a professor at IT University of Copenhagen, said: “For historic reasons the shipment company takes charge of providing the information to all these stakeholders, ensuring quality control and that nothing has been fiddled with. For me it's the perfect kind of application area for a nice Blockchain solution.”
Container handling and container weighing have been at the forefront of shipping industry news in 2016 with the introduction of the International Maritime Organisation’s Safety of Life at Sea amendment requiring all cargo to have its verified gross mass declared and recorded previous to it arriving at its destination.
At the end of September, 2016, PTI reported that three months after it came into effect, concerns still remained regarding IT issues holdouts and the accuracy of the verified gross mass that has been declared for shipping containers, despite 95% of containers being declared.
Blockchain has given assurances that Cybersecurity is at the forefront of its investigations into the use of its technology in the shipping industry.