First Shipping Use of Public Blockchain Technology - Global Trade Magazine
  October 19th, 2016 | Written by

First Shipping Use of Public Blockchain Technology

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  • MTI is using public blockchain technology to enable the dissemination of shipping container information.
  • A blockchain creates a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and shares it among a computer network.
  • Public blockchain technology connects the supply chain together.

Marine Transport International has deployed the world’s first public blockchain solution in the global shipping industry. MTI is a freight forwarder based in the United Kingdom and the United States. It provides technology-based freight forwarding solutions for global shipping companies worldwide.

MTI is using the TrustMe public blockchain technology and the services from predictive analytics expert Black Swan Data Limited. The technology will be used within its SolasVGM product offering to enable the secure and open dissemination of shipping container information.

Since July 1, 2016, government parties to the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS treaty have been required to implement new requirements related to the verified gross mass (VGM) of packed containers. The new regulation puts the responsibility on the shipper to ensure that an accurate VGM is provided to the terminal/carrier for every container loaded prior to it being allowed to be shipped on-board on a vessel.

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and to share it among a distributed network of computers. Public blockchain technology will connect the supply chain together, in a way which the industry has never seen before. Trust and partnership is reinforced with the blockchain, in an industry where such principles can at times be misunderstood.

Blockchain will allow companies to build efficient business ecosystems between supply chain parties or actors in the public blockchain, according to an MTI statement. The blockchain will also accelerate the flow of data distributed between parties, while at the same time reducing reliance on the typical IT architecture that plague companies today.

With millions of transactions processed each day in the shipping industry, the public blockchain will increase data efficiency and provide long term savings for electronic data interchange transmissions.

Using the TrustMe solution, VGM data is stored on the global blockchain, providing a permanent records visible to port officials, shippers and cargo owners. This replaces cumbersome logs, spreadsheets, data intermediaries and private databases. Previously, data has been deeply ingrained in old legacy systems. This causes delays in the development of new capabilities, hindering the ability for carriers to make rapid changes to services.

“Blockchain has the ability to empower our industry into a true digital age,” said Jody Cleworth, CEO of MTI. “Instead of a VGM message being delivered sequentially to parties within the supply chain, our platform can provide a decentralized approach to delivering VGM messages. The sheer volume of containers processed per year means that safely decentralizing the management of these containers will radically reduce the complexities of shipping.”