Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Blockchain Still Shrouded in Mystery for Most of the Shipping and Logistics Sector  

Smaller Companies May Want to Investigate What is Out There for Them

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Shipping News Feature WORLDWIDE – We have written several times on the advance of blockchain, including how some of the biggest players in the container freight market have trialled it as what they claims is a neutral platform available to all. However for the bulk of the shipping and logistics community the technology remains shrouded in mystery and subject to concerns..

Now, in an attempt to brush aside the veil of confusion, Container xChange, the service which links those with empty container stocks around the globe with customers seeking such equipment, has interviewed Boston Consulting Groups (BCG) partner Camille Egloff who recently completed a study of blockchain within the industry.

After pointing out the paradox inherent in applying the technology, i.e. the natural desire to retain commercial secrecy and a traditional reluctance to allow rivals access to this, the first question was to ask, given the natural reticence of SMEs to become involved, what first steps do companies need to take to get ready for blockchain in shipping? Camille Egloff responded:

”In our view, the benefits of being among the first to join these collaborative efforts far outweigh any advantages of a cautious approach. First movers can both influence the development of standards and ensure that the solutions they would like to apply in their own operations are among those widely adopted among the value chain. Late movers risk finding themselves shut out, particularly if competitors are already participating.

”A good way to start is to make sure your own data and systems are consistent and up-to-date. Learn about the technology, obtain a deep understanding of the limitations and identify current pain points. Before launching blockchain at scale, a company should conduct proof-of-concept tests to check viability of potential applications. Create APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow you to share your data with different platforms! For those proofs of concept, the company should then design plans to implement at scale and commercialise in stages.

Container xChange was itself spawned by the BCG operation and therefore has a vested interest in supplying solutions such as blockchain. Whilst the BCG report agreed that traditional technologies are still the right choice for transactions and processes that involve a small number of parties who already know each other, the technology is blossoming amongst the bigger players and the need to ensure not being left behind may prove a greater spur than the inherent desire for secrecy.

Container XChange claims it is the model to follow, providing as it does, a completely neutral platform without any industry investment. More than 300 companies use the platform already and the firm says its processes and technologies make sure that members can trust each other. To learn more about blockchain you can read the complete Container xChange interview with BCG here and the BCG study in full here.

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