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Norfolk Southern the Latest Railway to Join Blockchain Transport Group

U.S. railway network Norfolk Southern has become the latest industry player to join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance.

One of less than a dozen Class I railroads in North America, Norfolk Southern announced Thursday that it would participate in the consortium’s mission of establishing standards for logistics companies using blockchain technology, according to a press release.

The company maintains a number of rail lines across the Eastern Seaboard, in addition to providing coal and intermodal transport services in the region.

BiTA vice president Fred Ehlers said in a statement that the rail line would help with streamlining supply chain processes using blockchain.

The statement was echoed by BiTA president Chris Burruss, who said that more than 250 members of the alliance are working toward creating “common blockchain standards that will define the future of freight movement,” according to the release. He added:

“Norfolk Southern brings a level of intermodal and rail expertise to the Alliance that will benefit all members and the industry as a whole as we move toward a common framework. We look forward to engaging with them as we move forward.”

The rail line joins companies such as the Berkshire Hathaway-owned BNSF Railway, which joined the alliance earlier this year. Similarly, General Electric’s transportation division became a member in March.

Norfolk Southern image via Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

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GE's Transport Arm Joins Blockchain Consortium

General Electric has joined a blockchain consortium through its transportation division.

GE Transportation announced last Thursday that it had joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), which aims to develop standards around the tech’s use in the cargo transport industry. With the move, GE becomes the latest major firm to link up with the effort, joining a list that includes UPS, FedEx and the logistics arm of Chinese e-commerce company JD.com.

In statements, the company said that it joined the group as part of an effort to study possible applications of blockchain to its operations.

“As GE Transportation extends its capabilities into the broader supply chain, we’re connecting partners and customers at every node and across multiple modes,” Laurie Tolson, GE Transportation’s chief digital officer, said in a statement, adding:

“We look forward to bringing our applications to BiTA as we collectively seek to leverage the potential of blockchain across the industries we serve.”

CoinDesk has previously reported on GE’s publicly-acknowledged focus on blockchain by way of its intellectual property efforts.

Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released five patent applications, all filed in 2016, which each described a different blockchain application to aid in the streamlining of aircraft maintenance.

GE included an option to pay relevant parties using cryptocurrencies or some other blockchain-based system, as previously reported.

Truck driving image via Shutterstock

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Warren Buffet's Railroad Firm Joins Blockchain Alliance

BNSF Railway, a major U.S. freight railroad network owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, has become the latest member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

Announcing the news on Feb. 5, BNSF said in a statement that it joins the alliance in an effort to work with other members to set standards for how data can be transacted within a transportation blockchain, as well as how that data needs to be formatted and structured.

Muru Murugappan, BNSF’s CIO and vice president of technology services, commented:

“Blockchain technology has the potential to change several aspects of the transportation industry and it is important that the industry comes together to align around a set of standards.”

With the move, BNSF also becomes one of the first railroad network operators in North America eyeing a role for blockchain in pushing through an industry transformation.

BiTA currently has over 200 members from the logistics, transportation and technology industries, and aims to develop standard applications of blockchain technology for the group’s members.

Current notably members include SAP, UPS as well as Fedex and the logistic arm of China’s e-commerce giant JD.com – the latter two joining the alliance just last month in an effort to integrate blockchain into their daily operations.

BNSF image via Shutterstock

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Chinese Retail Giant JD.com Joins Blockchain in Transport Alliance

The logistics arm of Chinese retail and internet giant JD.com has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

The firm said in an announcement yesterday that JD Logistics joins the alliance with the aim of sharing its knowledge and applications of blockchain technology with other international freight firms, including fellow BiTA members UPS, FedEx, Penske and more.

BiTA was set up with the aim of developing and promoting blockchain standards for global freight and logistics companies.

JD Logistics, formed in 2017 is the first Chinese logistics enterprise to join the alliance, the announcement states. The company said it plans use blockchain in the optimization of supply chains, cross-border logistics and communications, as well as to help improve collaboration on the tech within the industry.

The news comes just a day after shipping giant FedEx announced its membership of BiTA.

Blockchain tech is increasingly being viewed as a potential means to bring more efficiency, transparency and lower costs to the logistics industry.

Just last month, blockchain technology startup Skuchain and NTT Data Corporation partnered to develop blockchain applications for supply chains. The partners said they will work to complete a system that integrates blockchain with the internet of things (IoT) to help solve problems with traditional supply chain methods.

Global shipping giant Maersk has also indicated it is spinning off its blockchain work with IBM in an effort to foster collaboration between its competitors. The yet-to-be-named joint venture is aimed help ensure transparency and a level playing field among participants, the firm told CoinDesk on Jan. 16.

JD.com image via Shutterstock

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Road to Innovation? Truck Giant Penske Joins Blockchain Group

Global transport company Penske Logistics has become the latest company to join the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

The organization aims to spur blockchain development in the transport industry by creating applications for supply chain and logistics processes, asset tracking, and transaction ledgers, according to a press release. Penske became a corporate member of the alliance on Jan. 15.

The company specifically may work on creating applications for its food and beverage transports, as well as for its manufacturing division.

Senior vice president of global products Andy Moses said the company planned to study blockchain technology as part of their joining the alliance.

He said:

“We’ve joined BiTA to take part in better understanding the benefits of blockchain for our customers and to be a part of crafting the standard framework in the development and implementation of blockchain technology.”

Penske joins companies such as United Parcel Service in the consortium. Last year, UPS announced it was joining to help develop standards for blockchain platforms, including on how to use the tech to facilitate payments.

At the time, the consortium was called the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance, and focused its energies specifically on that industry.

However, the addition of rail companies and other transportation-related groups led to the consortium’s name change.

Penske trucks image via EQRoy / Shutterstock

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