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EY Spearheads Blockchain Tracking Platform for German Logistics Firms

The platform is estimated to automate around 75 million processes each year and save about 12 million sheets of paper per year.

German logistics firms partner to jointly create a blockchain tracking platform, local news outlet Tiroler Tageszeitung reports on July 16.

Per the report, logistics firms LKW Walter, GS1 Austria, and its EDITEL Austria subsidiary, Bundesvereinigung Logistik Österreich, Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Schenker, and WU Vienna are participating in the project. Furthermore, big four auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY) is managing the initiative.

The system will reportedly see freight documents being digitized on the blockchain with the aim of reducing costs and resource consumption while ensuring higher transparency standards, and protect against counterfeiting. The project will be developed with attention to compliance with the international standard for the electronic consignment note, e-CMR.

The outlet cites estimates that the platform will automate around 75 million processes each year and save about 12 million sheets of paper per year. Michael Schramm, head of the German-speaking EY Blockchain competence center, commented on the project:

“Blockchain holds enormous potential for all industries, especially those with many standardized processes such as transport and logistics – if you use the technology properly.”

The analysis and pilot phases of the development are reportedly scheduled to begin later this year and last until the end of 2019. According to EY, after the pilot stage will be concluded, the initiative is expected to result in a commercial platform next year.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, maritime shipping firms Ocean Network Express and Hapag-Lloyd have joined blockchain tracking platform TradeLens.

In June, also Russian authorities have signed an agreement with Danish logistics giant Maersk to officially launch blockchain shipping platform TradeLens.

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Russian Authorities Sign MoU With Maersk to Officially Launch TradeLens in Russia

Russia will officially pilot Maersk and IBM’s blockchain shipping tool TradeLens in St. Petersburg, following a new MoU.

Russian authorities have signed an agreement with Danish logistics giant Maersk to officially launch blockchain shipping platform TradeLens, according to a press release on June 6.

As a part of the agreement, the port at Russia’s second-biggest city, St. Petersburg, will pilot the blockchain-powered logistics tool co-developed by Maersk’s tech subsidiary Maersk GTD and global tech giant IBM.

The agreement was signed in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Maersk CEO Søren Skou and Yuriy Tsvetkov, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation and Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, the press release notes.

Signed on June 5, the MoU enables the launch of TradeLens across all of Russia in order to adopt blockchain-powered digital documentation to replace the currently mostly paper-based transportation operations. The plans for the agreement were first revealed in February 2019.

By deploying TradeLens, the port of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest port and the main container gateway, is expected to maximize transparency for multiple processes including contracting procedures by distributing data about supply and demand, Tsvetkov said at the signing ceremony.

According to the press release, the TradeLens platform now includes over 100 participants and processes 10 million global shipping events to date.

In late May, two major global shipping firms, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, joined the TradeLens platform, which reportedly meant that 50% of all global marine cargo was then tracked with blockchain technology.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported on Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina launching blockchain pilots to improve multiple processes on the supply chain.

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Logistics Firm Panalpina Launches Blockchain Pilots in Its Supply Chain

Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina has started blockchain pilot projects aimed at optimizing supply chains.

Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina has started blockchain pilot projects aimed at optimizing of supply chains, according to a press release on June 11.

After joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) in May, Panalpina — one of the world’s largest transport and logistics companies, with consolidated profit of $76.3 million in 2018 — has launched two blockchain pilots in the air and ocean freight field with selected customers.

One of the projects will investigate blockchain applications in high-tech industrial goods, and the other will deal with office supplies.

Panalpina thus aims to digitize trade documents, store them in a cloud, and deploy blockchain tech to improve processes and reduce costs in the long term. Specifically, the company will use a blockchain-based tracking system to record the flow of imported goods from Asia to Europe, running in parallel to real shipments and without interfering with current processes. Cedric Rutishauser, senior venture development manager at the Panalpina Digital Hub, said:

“These early-stage projects are 85 percent about digitization and 15 percent about blockchain – we are starting to see clear benefits in cost savings through simplified and speedier processes, and lower document courier costs. But the real advantage of blockchain lies in the ‘single source of truth’. Improved data sharing between trade partners creates more transparency, with clear ownership and responsibility for each documented step in the supply chain.”

While Panalpina is testing various possible applications of blockchain technology in its business processes, it expressed caution regarding the nascent technology.

In the post, the company stresses that blockchain is an emerging technology and cites a study revealing that some senior supply chain managers are skeptical about the tech’s benefits, while others are convinced that it will advance security and transparency in supply chains.

Recently, French retail giant Carrefour reported an increase in sales after the implementation of a blockchain-based tracking system that enables customers to track the supply chain of 20 items, including meat, milk, and fruit from farms to stores. This year, the company reportedly plans to add 100 more products, including non-food lines, to the system.

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Indonesia to Improve Its Shipping Industry With New Multi-Million Blockchain Project

Singapore-based blockchain firm PLMP Fintech joined a multi-million logistics project in partnership with Indonesian authorities.

Singapore-based blockchain firm PLMP Fintech will participate in a multi-million logistics project in partnership with the government of Indonesia, according to a press release on May 29.

The new initiative is made in partnership with the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia and intends to transform the country’s shipping industry starting from the Riau Province, which is located on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

The project is a result of a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between PLMP Fintech and major industry-related entities in the Indonesian city of Batam, the largest city in the Riau Islands. The MoU was signed by Indonesian firm Central Distribusi Batam and the Agency for Free Trade Zone and the Free Port of Batam, the press release notes.

The pilot stage will reportedly include the deployment of PLMP Fintech’s own blockchain protocol Creatanium in order to unify the standards of communications between buyers and sellers of agricultural commodities.

The blockchain project intends to provide a higher level of time and cost efficiencies by enabling instant updates on the exact location of moving goods, PLMP Fintech’s co-founder Kym Kee said in the press release.

Yesterday, two global shipping firms, Mediterranean Shipping Co and CMA CGM, announced their entrance to the blockchain shipping platform TradeLens, developed by the world’s largest logistics company Maersk and tech giant IBM.

Earlier this year, Indonesian lawmakers introduced new legislation that recognized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) as a trading commodity.

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World’s Second and Fourth Biggest Shipping Firms Join Maersk’s Blockchain Platform

Swiss Mediterranean Shipping and French CMA CGM have both joined TradeLens.

Two leading global shipping firms, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and CMA CGM, have joined blockchain shipping platform TradeLens, Reuters reports on May 28.

Switzerland-based MSC, the world’s second-largest shipping company, and French CMA CGM, reportedly the fourth-largest container shipping firm, have joined the blockchain platform developed by the world’s largest logistics company Maersk and tech giant IBM.

As previously reported, blockchain-powered shipping solution TradeLens intends to reduce paperwork and associated costs and time in the logistics industry — which reportedly accounts for $4 trillion — with over 80% of the goods carried by the ocean shipping sector.

According to Reuters, by joining the platform, MSC and CMA CGM will have almost 50% of all cargo shipped by sea tracked using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Vincent Clerc, Maersk executive vice president, considers the entrance of MSC and CMA CGM to the TradeLens platform a “game changer,” Reuters writes. Clerc noted that clients have to carry out a massive amount of paperwork without a transparent view of what is going on with their goods, with Reuters adding that paperwork amounts to almost 20% on average of the cost of shipping a container.

The TradeLens blockchain shipping solution was launched by Maersk and IBM in August 2018, with around 100 global organizations involved and 154 million shipping events captured at the time. Integrating Internet of Things and sensor data, the platform is capable of tracking containers, as well as a number of variables such as temperature control and container weight.

Recently, the World Economic Forum partnered with more than 100 global supply chain and logistics leaders to standardize blockchain apps in the industry. The project reportedly includes over 20 governments, as well as major shippers and supply chain suppliers including Maersk, Hitachi and Mercy Corps, among others.

Previously, Marseille Fos Port, the main French trade seaport, announced it will run a blockchain pilot for freight logistics in June 2019.

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World Economic Forum Teams Up With 100 Logistics Firms, 20 Gov’ts in New DLT Project

The World Economic Forum announced a broad blockchain project: “Redesigning Trust: Blockchain for Supply Chains.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has teamed up with over 100 global supply chain and logistics leaders to standardize blockchain apps in the industry, the organization announced on May 1.

The WEF, a Switzerland-based organization whose motto is commitment to “improving the state of the world,” has announced a new project called “Redesigning Trust: Blockchain for Supply Chains.”

The project aims to form a broad multi-stakeholder community to co-develop interoperable blockchain applications in the logistics industry and to leverage an open-source toolkit to deploy blockchain responsibly, eliminating the hype around the technology.

According to the press release, over 20 governments, major shippers and supply chain suppliers including Maersk, Hitachi, Mercy Corps, Korea Customs Service, Llamasoft and Ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Valencia and Rotterdam joined the WEF’s Redesigning Trust blockchain project.

Nadia Hewett, project lead at WEF Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology, said supply chain solution makers need clear guidelines, tools, and frameworks in order to reduce risks and maximize the benefits of blockchain. Hewett outlined that the new initiative will help the community to “piece together the puzzle, so others don’t have to start from scratch.”

Recently, the WEF issued a report about blockchain cybersecurity, pointing out that the majority of data breaches do not result from how skilled the hackers are, but are instead caused by insufficient security measures.

On April 25, FedEx’s chief information officer urged industry providers to develop standards in blockchain applications.

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Chinese Province’s Transport Upgrade Plans Will Make Full Use of Blockchain, IoT

Blockchain will feature within logistics plans, alongside other technologies such as Internet of Things.

Blockchain will be one of the technologies local Chinese authorities will leverage in an overhaul of local transport infrastructure, a government bulletin reported on March 25.

New plans recently approved reference blockchain, in addition to other disruptive tools such as big data and the Internet of Things (IoT), as being useful for implementation in the Jiangsu Province, north of Shanghai.

A multi-year project called the “Implementation Plan for the Promotion of Transportation Infrastructure Development” aims to update both passenger and freight networks to reduce pollution and increase efficiency.

According to the bulletin, blockchain will feature in the area of logistics data. A rough translation reads:

“Vigorously develop ‘Internet+’ efficient logistics, make full use of mobile Internet, Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data, blockchain and other technologies to promote the improvement of traditional cargo transportation organization and the effective integration of various modes of transportation.”

State-level blockchain projects are nothing new in China, with various local and national schemes aiming to deploy the technology in one form or another.

Accompanying them are corporate initiatives, which this month have included retail giant Alibaba partnering with Aerospace Information Co. to further blockchain development.

Within transportation, Shenzhen began issuing China’s first electronic subway invoices using blockchain last week.

Separately, research has shown China currently leads the list of countries worldwide with the largest number of blockchain patents.

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UPS Integrates Blockchain Platform to Improve Merchant Supply Chains

Logistics giant UPS and e-commerce tech firm Inxeption have launched a blockchain platform aimed to improve merchant supply chains.

Major American postal carrier UPS and e-commerce technology company Inxeption have jointly rolled out a blockchain-powered platform to improve merchant supply chains. The development was announced in a press release published on March 21.

The new blockchain platform dubbed Inxeption Zippy is designed to help companies list, market and distribute their products to customers. The platform purportedly enables merchants to monitor the entire supply chain from product listing to delivery, ensuring that sensitive data like contract-specific pricing and rates are only accessible to the buyer and seller.

By using the platform, merchants will purportedly be able to upload product information, schedule orders, monitor returns, process transactions, and review sales and marketing analytics, among other services.

Farzad Dibachi, CEO of Inxeption, said that the platform “creates simplified pricing solutions for B2B merchants with limited digital marketing and IT resources to easily manage all aspects of selling and shipping from one secure place.”

In mid-January, UPS made an undisclosed equity investment in Inxeption. Dibachi said then that “business customers need secure platforms that protect their customer data and proprietary information, while making it easy for them to interact and even collaborate more effectively with their customers.”

Businesses in various industries have been widely exploring the ways blockchain can improve supply chain. Recently, the U.S. National Pork Board partnered with blockchain startup to test out a blockchain platform for pork supply chains, which will purportedly enable it to monitor and evaluate sustainability practices, food safety standards, livestock health, and environmental protections.

Earlier this month, North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood firm Bumble Bee Foods launched a blockchain platform for seafood traceability. Customers will purportedly be able to observe the entire supply chain, and access information on products’ origins and shipping history by using a smart device to scan a QR code on the product package.

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Singapore Launches Pilot of TradeTrust Blockchain Shipping Initiative

The progression follows a Memorandum of Understanding between government and industry players in January.

The Singapore government will press ahead with a pilot of its blockchain-based maritime trade platform TradeTrust through an official partnership, trade news outlet Asia Middle East Maritime Focus reported on March 7.

TradeTrust, which aims to leverage blockchain to streamline complex manual processes involved in international shipping, will first focus on blockchain-powered electronic bills of lading (EB-Ls).

Processing the essential trade document can often incur long time spans and considerable extra costs using paper-based methods.

The pilot follows a January Memorandum of Understanding signed by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Maritime Port Authority, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association.

As part of the TradeTrust pilot, the IMDA will also gather feedback on the initiative, as well as requesting industry advice on how to best implement it in future.

“TradeTrust is an initiative to develop a set of standards to help businesses securely exchange digital trade documents,” the publication quoted Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, S. Iswaran, as telling parliament on March 4.

Transferring EB-L issuance to blockchain has become a preoccupation of various schemes worldwide. As Cointelegraph reported, Singapore was also involved in a project by IBM and shipping company Pacific International Lines last month.

Elsewhere, HSBC in India has also experimented with the idea, along with Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim.