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MIT Students, Stena Bulk Consider Blockchain Opportunity In The Shipping Industry



De Silva

During spring 2017, Swedish tanker shipping company Stena Bulk hosted a project by MBA candidates from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Investigating blockchain, the students presented recommendations for how Stena Bulk might utilize the technology.

Stena Bulk is one of the world’s foremost tanker shipping companies. Founded in 1982, the Swedish company transports crude oil, liquefied natural gas, and refined petroleum by sea. The complexity of the shipping industry makes blockchain technology an enticing proposition, one which could save time and money.

In a statement, Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk, addressed the promise of FinTech.

“We are convinced that the tanker industry will change drastically in the future. To prepare for this we have a team of people working fulltime to make sure that we are fully aware of what is happening in the world, how it will affect us, and lead the company in a transformative way,” said Hånell. “One important aspect of this is the transformative power of digitalization. We need to stay up to date on different technologies and how to use them.”

This past spring, Stena Bulk hosted a group of MBA candidates from MIT’s Sloan School of Management who studied how blockchain technology could disrupt the shipping industry. Through interviews with professors and industry experts, the students confirmed the importance of blockchain for shipping.

Christian Catalini, principal investigator of the MIT Digital Currencies Research Study told ETHNews, “Blockchain technology has the potential to streamline and simplify supply chain and logistics, especially in contexts where multiple entities are involved and the overall supply chain is complex and geographically dispersed.”

This makes the shipping industry ripe for adoption. Already, the world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, has begun testing cargo management via blockchain.

In the case of Stena Bulk, the MBA candidates suggested a number of specific use cases, including tracking, identification, automated clearing and settlement via EDCCs, and documentation.

Blockchain might be used to track the real-time location of ships, future availability, and fuel consumption. Furthermore, selected freight metrics could be followed, such as time of loading, ownership, and estimated time of arrival. The students also suggested that automated payment and information sharing systems might be possible with blockchain technology.

Matthew De Silva

Matthew has a passion for law and technology. He graduated from Georgetown University, where he studied international economics and music. Matthew enjoys biking and listening to tech podcasts. He lives in Los Angeles.

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