Blockchain Technology for Ports
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
This paper examines the suitability of blockchain and blockchain-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) to the port, harbour, and terminal industries. DLT has the potential to drastically change the world of asset transfer, asset movements and security of data movement.
Testing of various DLT applications has already started – first in 2009 with the emergence of Bitcoin in the financial services industry, then subsequently in various other fields, including within the supply chain.
Executives in the port, harbour and terminal industries need to understand the potential impact and implications of DLT and blockchain – in business, in respect to government interactions, and along the supply chain.
The technology has the potential to change the way parties operate and interact along the value chain as well as to open doors for new players.
Some intermediaries might be impacted, others may be left out of the game.
DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY
DLT allows for distributed and real-time multi-party tracking, digital bills of landing and letters of credit, machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions, and visibility of assets and liabilities. Smart contracts, digital wallets and secure digital asset and information transfer could ease maritime operations, unlock new opportunities for all parties and reduce risk.
With this, significant amounts of paper could be cut out of processes.
Capturing the potential of DLT and blockchain requires not only an understanding of the technology and its implications for the port, harbour, and terminal industries, but also pioneering and collective efforts to develop the applications and a new gold standard in business to jointly bring the traditional industries to the next level.