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Maersk tests blockchain while registration of consignment notes

Maersk, the largest company in the field of container transport, in partnership with IT University of Copenhagen is exploring the possibilities of blockchain technology during registration of the cargo documentation.

The company has participated in the creation of the cargo document flow project's prototype which can replace the traditional documentation.

The main document for maritime transport is the so-called bill of lading – a consignment note with a detailed description of the goods, terms and cost of transportation, which is signed by the cargo owner and the ship's captain.

"Historically, the transport company is responsible for providing information to other parties, ensuring quality control and acting as a guarantor of the fact that nothing is hidden. I believe that this is the perfect area for blockchain application," IBTimes quotes Professor Roman Beck from IT University of Copenhagen.

Prototype demonstration was conducted on the example of the delivery of containers with fresh flowers from Kenya to Rotterdam.

"This is a standard delivery, the flowers are delivered by sea, and it takes about 20 days. The problem is that it is impossible to determine the exact date of cargo arrival. This very delivery process generates a stack of paper which is 25 centimeters tall. However, this is the simplest delivery," Beck says.

Things get much more complicated when the logistics deals with the supply of goods from China.

"We do not know what's going on with the cargo on the way to Europe. We do not even know who the final recipient, because trading takes place also during transportation. The owner of the cargo is changing during the delivery, and the process involves different kinds of intermediaries," Beck added.

In the offered blockchain-solution public and private data is separated. For example, the seller may offer computers, which he bought from the manufacturer in China, but for some reason wants to hide information about the manufacturer from the purchaser. All these features are included in the test version of the digital bill of lading.

According to Beck, now Maersk received a model of document flow by blockchain, and the continuation of the work depends on the decision of the transport company.

Earlier it became known of intention of Dubai government to convert to blockchain all state document flow by 2020.


  • October 31, 2016 3:49 PM MSK