Agility Logistics has joined Maersk and IBM on a project that uses blockchain to manage and track container shipments, becoming the first 3PL to do so.
Agility will “identify events associated with individual shipments and share and receive information about them via the distributed ledger blockchain technology developed by IBM and Maersk,” the company said in a statement.
The last few years have seen a slew of innovating blockchain projects hit the market, garnering support from businesses across the logistics sector.
One major benefit of blockchain technology is its ability to securely encode data, rendering sensitive information invisible – at least so far – to hackers.
It’s also more secure than traditional networks because it stores the encrypted information in several locations along the blockchain.
“What blockchain really means is that it’s a safer environment, because what would previously have been stored in just one place is kept in multiple places across a chain and so to actually bring down someone’s network you’ll need a massive amount of computing power,” says Jim Bralsford, VP of sales, EMEA, INTTRA, the world’s foremost container booking platform.
As cybercrime grows more sophisticated, logistics companies are attempting to better lock down their data operations.
Maersk Line had significant amounts of data stolen last year, with many of its customers blackmailed by the hackers in a ransomware scam.
The Maersk-IBM-Agility project makes this encrypted data visible only to shippers, carriers, freight forwarders and others in the immediate supply chain.
“Blockchain technology is going to make shipping cheaper, safer and more reliable,” said Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of Agility Global Integrated Logistics.
Al-Saleh noted that, by eliminating time-consuming paper transfers, blockchain could shorten transit and clearance times.
These kinds of analog documentation and administration procedures are estimated to comprise one-fifth of the US$1.8 trillion spent annually to move goods across borders.