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Government to begin blockchain testing in six key areas

Dec 22,2018
The public sector hopes to save time and money next year with the use of blockchain in a variety of key areas, with the expectation that these pioneering efforts will pay off and enable Korea to lead in the application and development of the technology.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Science and ICT said it had developed a new blockchain-based logistics system to increase efficiency in Korea’s shipping industry.

Blockchain is a decentralized technology that stores information simultaneously in many places. The information does not go through a central server, so it is relatively safe from unauthorized changes.

In marine logistics, the technology is expected to help shipping container management by facilitating real-time sharing of information.

Starting from this month, the Port of Busan will be the first place the technology will be tested. Blockchain’s data-sharing capacity will make it possible for shipping companies, terminals and delivery drivers to share container-location information and expected arrival times.

In the past, all this information was manually transmitted by phone, email and fax to the parties involved. The process not only led to miscommunication, but tend to cause traffic jams near shipping terminal gates, where drivers had to show documents every time they wanted to move containers.

“The time it takes to check the quantity of goods will be reduced from a day or two to less than an hour through the use of blockchain technology,” said the head of the Science Ministry’s network promotion team.

Marine logistics is one of six pilot projects the Science Ministry plans to invest in to advance Korea’s blockchain development, according to reports from the ministry in July. The other areas are beef supply-chain management, customs clearance, real estate transactions, online voting and electronic document exchange between countries.

According to the Science Ministry, blockchain technology will be introduced to beef supply-chain management from next year as well. It will first be applied to a select few breeding farms and slaughterhouses in North Jeolla. Information about the location of cows and their movements will be stored and recorded by blockchain, including a complete history of the beef from slaughterhouse to packaging. The livestock will have Bluetooth trackers, minimizing the human labor needed to input information.

Also from next year, the Korea Customs Service will begin operating a blockchain-powered online portal, enabling consumers who order goods from abroad to check the location of those goods and their status of the items within the customs system. International shipping providers Malltail and CJ Logistics are currently partnered with the customs agency to take part in the service.

The Science Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are working together with the Korean Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Embassy of Korea in Japan to help Korean nationals get overseas documents verified and notarized for use in Korea by sharing document records on a blockchain system.

“In order to have high-quality blockchain technology that can be applied to our daily lives, long development periods and large investments are necessary,” said Kim Jung-hyuk, a consultant at the Korea Blockchain Association. “The central and local governments should lead the technological development through blockchain technology-powered administrative and public services.”


BY KIM GYEONG-JIN [ebusiness@joongang.co.kr]