Logistics has been a part of human society right from primitive times. Even during the early days, a simple farmer would carry around his crop as goods for people to purchase. Meanwhile, with the progress of time, the supply chain grew further. As recordkeeping and complexities took over, each task became intricate and cumbersome. Currently, the logistics industry sits as the biggest money-churning section of the entire professional service section. With multi-billion-dollar ships, aircraft, and other freight carriers at the helm, the idea is to be fast and be precise.
However, despite all the investment, the supply chain has lacked in a few places of significant significance. For instance, transparency and accuracy are two issues that the logistics section has never really focused on. A goods container carrying items from Germany to the US might be locally tracked by the supplier to explain this. But for the user who needs to be aware of the real quality and the processes involved, there is no entry point.
Moreover, the recordkeeping and ledger system has often lagged in terms of speed. With billions of freights across the globe, no other technology has been able to comprehend and keep up. What results is the localized storage and segregation of data that creates misinformation or loss of vital facts. This can often create mistrust and lower the process efficiency in the longer run.
In the starting phase, blockchain was brought in as a method to support digital currency or crypto exchanges. However, it was quickly revealed that it has limitless implementation potential. One such area of the blockchain technology implementation has been in the global supply chain and logistics sections to sober things down.
A decentralized blockchain per se can be the breeding ground for endless data and transaction records. Each transaction or transportation detail would exist on the chain in the form of a block. Any further changes in the parameters related to the transaction or exchange would be implemented in the form of a new block. The new block can at best overlap the existing one, which means any information stored on the network is there forever.
With the introduction of smart contracts, the entire involvement of a third party authentication is written off. These smart contracts work based on a pre-decided set of rules, which will lead to a transaction or exchange when fulfilled. By keeping the network open-source, public involvement is held paramount as well.
In addition to this, the decentralized blockchain network and the distributed ledger system is a boon too. It simply utilizes the hardware and software potential of every node (constituent user or provider). By doing so, every node becomes equally plausible and responsible for various activities. A host of advantages that can be gained from blockchain implementation onto the supply chain and logistic section are:
- Providing Consensus: Consensus holds a high significance in the blockchain methodology. This would make sure that the information related to a supply mechanism is authenticated through several resources.
- Distributed Ledger: Each record throughout the entire logistic chain would be embedded into the decentralized ledger system. No single authority or propriety can tamper, delete, or alter the same. Hence, the entire supply chain would remain transparent and open to the users and the providers.
- Involvement: With the PoW or PoS, each authentic involvement is rewarded. Hence, the global supply chain would not be limited to a select few dominance but open to every involved user.
- Tracking and Recordkeeping: With the decentralized apps and the involvement of IoT, tracking has grown multiple folds as well. Smart sensors and feedback devices enable live and continuous tracking and reporting of each good and parameters.
The utilization of blockchain technology into the supply chain network is not untouched. On the larger picture, giants like Walmart have already adapted it. The company utilizes the technology for its meat processing and purchasing section.
Mining giants like BHP Billiton have also gone ahead and utilized the technology of blockchain. Their intentions to use it for analyzing and recording their vendor interactions and recordkeeping has been transparent. Other names such as Unilever would feature in the list of prominent users as well. Paypal has been another big firm involved in the enterprise of technology.
Latest Additions to the Supply Blockchain Universe
SAGT adopts TradeLens Technology
In what can be understood as an enterprising rise, many new area are joining the team for the supply blockchain revolution. Sri Lanka’s biggest container terminal is working on a privatized basis, and the SAGT is the latest addition to the list. Maersk and IBM had joined their efforts to develop the smart blockchain methodology called TradeLens. With Maersk being the leading container operator across the globe, the propagation was inevitable. The SAGT terminal would be the first in Sri Lanka and the very few across the globe to digitize its operations. The blockchain technology would power its entire operations, freight detailing, cargo operations, billing, and much more. With the blockchain technology intervention, it is already assured that the terminal would go leaps and bounds as it targets to be Asia’s leading hub for container dealing and transit.
Adani and India Connection
Another leading Asian giant in the field of Supply Chain and Logistics is the Adani Group. Being a multi-billion dollar enterprise, their entertaining of ide for the adaptation of blockchain methodology was certain. Operating the largest commercial container terminal in India, the group has further decided to select the TradeLens adaptation for their operations. Not just a single port, the deal is supposed to power up as many as six leading ports across the country, which happens to fasten container exchange. The process will streamline the administrative, technical, and financial tasks at each of the terminals. Each loading and unloading process, the relevant authorization, paperwork, financial, and other transactions will remains inscribed on the blockchain. This would mean that the records would be centrally accessible, with speed supposed to go up multiple folds.
The Thai customs and immigration department already implemented another adaptation of the whole advancement. The country and it’s the custom regulation authority used the TradeLens technology to streamline its custom and immigration processes. With such huge success for the IBM and Maersk brainchild, another major intervention from other logistic giants seems inevitable.