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Consortium makes first blockchain delivery

Sept 08,2017
A Korean consortium researching the application of blockchain technology in shipping and logistics has completed its first trial run, the group said Thursday.

The consortium, comprising 15 companies and government agencies, has been working since May to apply the blockchain’s ledger feature to logistics. The consortium hopes that the technology best known for driving cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will help enhance transparency and cut costs by securely distributing digital documents across companies in the supply chain.

The consortium’s first project was a shipment from Korea to China made by Hyundai Merchant Marine from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4. According to the consortium, the blockchain proved useful during the whole process, from booking the shipment to delivering the cargo. Documents such as the certificate of origin and customs clearance was encrypted in digital ledgers that were distributed to all parties in the supply chain.

The technology contributed to cutting down the amount of paperwork and time needed to share information between shipping companies, cargo owners and terminal operators, the consortium’s IT service partner, Samsung SDS, said in statement.

During the test run, Hyundai Merchant Marine also installed sensors on its reefer containers, which store products sensitive to temperature changes, allowing for real-time monitoring and management of the containers. The consortium said the sensors, in conjunction with blockchain technology, will allow multiple parties to share information immediately.

The consortium hopes to expand application of blockchain technology to finance and insurance services linked with shipping and logistics and test the system on routes bound for Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

According to Hyundai Merchant Marine, the next test voyage will take place in October.

“Top-notch technologies like the blockchain and Internet of Things [sensors] will be a game changer for the traditional logistics business,” said Kim Hyung-tae, executive vice president at Samsung SDS.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]