Auditing and consulting firm Deloitte has announced the successful completion of a blockchain-based pilot program designed to connect multiple blockchain platforms to improve the efficiency and transparency of global supply chains. The new connected platform is intended to digitize the process of exchanging documents between different companies and improve the traceability of digitized documents.
The platform's proof-of-concept was completed in December 2018 in collaboration with shipping and logistics companies Kerry Logistics and CargoSmart. The purpose of the experiment was to connect commonly used cloud networks and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and make these platforms interoperable.
Dr. Paul Sin of Deloitte Asia Pacific Blockchain Lab expressed his excitement for the project:
"A healthy logistics ecosystem is paramount in global trade, but complicated documentation has been a structural problem. Document digitization is not just the first step, but also a groundbreaking step in the transformation of the logistics industry. In addition to facilitating document coordination, DLT speeds up approvals, provides updated and secure data for informed decisions and offers a source of truth for all participants, especially banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. We therefore expect even greater benefits from DLT applications for shippers, forwarders, carriers and other players at large in the future."
This is not the first time blockchain technology has been applied to the global shipping industry, though interoperability is a new-ish wrinkle. In August 2018, IBM and Maersk announced the creation of a blockchain-powered platform dubbed TradeLens, which tracks important shipping data in real time. In November 2018, blockchain and shipping company CargoX announced the completion of its decentralized, cryptographically secured public blockchain platform, which allows shipping companies to "create, transfer, and state undoubted ownership of information or documentation."