The Port of Rotterdam is leveraging blockchain applications to “eliminate the lack of trust that stands in the way of solutions”, according to a new insight.
Led by BlockLab, a start-up established by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam, this blockchain project aims to support the logistics and energy sectors.
The technology, which is said to provide trust by recording relevant data securely on a huge number of computers, is expected to simplify and accelerate processes at the port, as well as facilitating large-scale data sharing.
The use of blockchain is especially important for networks in which a decentralized element plays a key role, such as modern power grids and the port’s logistics chain.
While traditional power grids are centrally-controlled and supplied by a few dominant power suppliers, the transition to renewable forms of energy, provided by wind turbines and solar panels, has resulted in an increasingly decentralized grid.
As the supply of sustainable energy sources is irregular, a smart network is required to ensure that supply always meets demand.
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Janjoost Jullens, BlockLab energy lead, commented: “Blockchain is the technology that can facilitate such a smart, decentralized grid and help achieve the promise of the energy transition.
“The focus on blockchain is an offensive strategy, geared towards increasing the share of sustainable energy.”
Rotterdam has also asserted that “things are very different in today’s logistics network”, with the majority of positions in the chain now occupied by small and medium enterprises.
Dean Croke has discussed what blockchain could mean for logistics in a recent Port Technology technical paper
With 28 parties on average involved in the transportation of sea containers, data has to be exchanged hundreds of times to ensure goods reach their intended destination.
Aljosja Beije, logistics lead at BlockLab, has emphasized that blockchain can improve the efficiency of this process: “In this network, deploying blockchain is much more of a defensive strategy, focusing on retaining market share.
“Platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba are also emerging strongly in logistics. You could see these as the equivalent of coal-fired power plants: efficiency is created through centralization.
“For existing parties in decentralised networks, cooperation is the only option they have to improve their efficiency.”