Rotterdam Port Celebrates New Blockchain Lab

 25 Sep 2017 11.25am

Rotterdam Port in partnership with government bodies has kicked off a new laboratory that aims to apply blockchain solutions in energy and logistics sectors.

Rotterdam port’s development project, an applied research lab called Blocklab, was launched during an event on September 21, 2017.

Blocklab is an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the local governing body, the municipality of Rotterdam.

The Blocklab will be starting with a core team of five, who work from the Cambridge Innovation Center in Rotterdam.

There theoretical blockchain ideas are to be developed, tested and worked out into concrete opportunities in a real-world environment, together with consortia of developers and users. The regional private sector is invited to use the lab as a resource.

The Blocklab will also be working with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences to develop a Univesrity curriculum for new blockchain researchers.

At the event partners put forth practical applications for ideas previously developed during the start-up phase for the project.

One of the previously studied ideas was a blockchain application for stock financing in the port logistics sector, which was developed in partnership with cloud software developer Exact and Dutch bank ABN AMRO. 

Other areas of focus for the tests may include ways to conduct blockchain transactions without involving a third party, allowing transactions to take place automatically.

This process could boost efficiency for logistics players trying to structure large-scale networks, supply chains and markets, in part by operating “without the need for a dominant, regulating party.”

Regarding how the project benefits the city and the port, applications could enable improved energy trading within the city’s decentralised power network, letting companies and city dwellers trade residual heat.

Read a related technical paper by the University of Hamburg on how digitalization continues to change logistics processes.

Blocklab is set to receive funds from the government-run regional development agency for West Holland, InnovationQuarter.

Additionally, innovation partners have been awarded funding for the development of blockchain applications for the energy sector. 

Rotterdam’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs Maarten Struijvenberg said: “There’s this huge buzz about ‘blockchain’, but actually, there aren’t that many fully functional applications.

“We’ll be changing this with Blocklab. This is important, because we need real innovations to launch the next economy. And blockchain can help us realise them."

Port Authority President and CEO Allard Castelein said: "I’m also thinking of the numerous applications that can be realised within logistics chains thanks to blockchain, allowing us to organise cargo flows more efficiently.

“This step is seamlessly in line with our ‘smartest port’ ambitions.”

Read More: In 2016, Rotterdam Port took part in a blockchain consortium with the support of ABN Amro, Delft University, Royal Flora Holland, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research.

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