…at least when it comes to moving freight.
Remember when it was going to bring down the banks and completely transform society as we know it? Yeah not so much.
But the technology this cryptocurrency is built upon — aka blockchain — still has tremendous potential. In logistics.
Why does logistics need blockchain?
Because blockchain solves so many of the problems plaguing this industry. In case you need reminding of what some of those problems are, here’s a list:
- The market is extremely fragmented. Thousands of shippers on land, sea, and air, dealing with thousands of separate freight brokers, forwarders, 3PLs, insurance providers, etc.
- There is zero standardization. None. Nada. This means that all of those logistics providers listed above each have their own processes in place — many of them manual and, for lack of a better word, bad.
- A safe, reliable, and trusted manner of sharing data doesn’t exist. This giant fragmented network has to oftentimes function on blind faith that all of these participants are doing the job and doing it well.
How will blockchain fix all the things?
Blockchain provides a decentralized, shared digital ledger that requires the consensus of the network in order to contribute or make changes. Every event or transaction is recorded across multiple copies of that ledger, which means that the data is transparent and nearly impossible to alter. This means blockchain does the impossible: it creates trust.
Wait…What does any of that mean?
Here’s a potential use-case to help clarify: Let’s say a broker is trying to reach capacity for a load at a pickup location. Once the broker has found a new carrier to assign the load to, she still can’t move forward with the assignment because the carrier has not been properly onboarded.
Blockchain, though, can create and make quickly accessible a decentralized network that holds all of the records of carriers in the transportation and freight industry. This could eliminate hours of work. And that’s in just one single load for one single carrier. Now apply that to the millions of loads that the industry moves every year.
Even more, that’s just one use case of blockchain in the logistics industry. There are countless.
A quick disclaimer
Before we go on, we want to say that we weren’t born yesterday. Plenty of technologies make big ol’ promises and then fail to deliver. One major reason for this is that the wrong people are responsible for developing those technologies. With blockchain, though, we happen to be the right people. This is why we joined BiTA: the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance.
How we’re shaping the future of blockchain
Thousands applied, we are among the select few accepted into BiTA. Our mission: “driving the adoption of emerging technology forward by developing industry standards; educating members and others on blockchain applications/solutions and distributed ledger technology (DLT); and encouraging the use and adoption of new solutions.”
Basically, we use our expertise to help inform the development of blockchain so that this powerful technology meets its full potential in the logistics industry. Without actual freight experts like us, technology experts with no working knowledge of logistics would dictate how it’s used. And no one wants that.
Where it will make the biggest impact in logistics
Again, there are countless of potential use-cases for blockchain within the supply chain. Here are just a few of the most promising:
- Determining the provenance of freight throughout the supply chain
- “Smart contracts” that can automate payments once certain conditions are met
- Easily keeping track of freight by providing secure, immutable, and real time information on where it is in the supply chain
Those examples alone could completely transform this antiquated industry. With a little imagination and logistics expertise, we can apply blockchain to even more aspects of this industry, changing the way we move freight forever. And we’re proud to be a part of that transformation.