UK’s Biggest Port Operator Exploring Blockchain Shipping Solutions Across 21 Ports

UK’s biggest port operator, Associated British Ports begins exploring blockchain shipping solutions across its 21 UK ports, in partnership with logistics software service provider Marine Transport International (MTI).

ABP, which carries out 25 percent of the cargo shipments in Great Britain, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MTI to pilot shipments using blockchain technology.  Commercial Director at ABP, Jens Skibsted Nielsen stated:

“We handle almost 100 million tons of cargo across all sectors every year, so we are a significant gateway for our customers’ supply chains,”

According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it predicts that by implementing distributed ledger technology to digitise and streamline the archaic manual processes in the industry, trade volumes will be able to expand significantly, and it predicts that world trade will see enormous revenue growth, WEF stated:

“Distributed ledger technology, can reduce a large part of this gap, facilitating about $1.1 trillion of new trade volumes globally”

The aim of MTI and ABP is to improve the supply chain connection with port operators, carriers, and shippers by creating an interoperable system that can connect with existing systems for the ports, reducing time spent on the manual review of scattered data.  Founder and CEO of MTI, Jody Cleworth stated:

“With blockchain, we can connect all those systems to ensure data is accurately and quickly shared, helping speed-up and simplify the flow of trade in and out of the UK.”

As a £523M revenue ports to property group, ABP services customers across multiple industries.  ABP’s Group head of marketing, Ron Crean also highlighted the focus of the pilots to improve efficiency, he said:

“As the old saying goes, ‘time is money’, and our hope is an effective implementation of blockchain will lead to quicker, more effective systems and operations.”

MTI has been piloting programs for some time, with the aim of introducing solutions that will automate and digitise the entire supply chain process.  Following results analysis by University of Copenhagen’s scientists and BLOC (Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration) tech leads last year, MTI’s Cleworth stated that blockchain technology had the potential of generating cost savings “as high as 90%”.

Maersk blockchain shipping
ABP joins other shipping giants to begin piloting MTI blockchain shipping solutions

There have been numerous pilots of the nascent technology with some of the world’s largest shipping giants.  As per a previous BCTech Report, the IBM and Maersk blockchain shipping solutions, built on Hyperledger Fabric, was  developed with the aim to reduce the world’s total $1.8 trillion annual shipping costs, and it has since gone live.

ABP is not the first trading port to launch blockchain efforts, whilst the Netherlands’ Port of Rotterdam Authority began trials of the technology last September, similarly the UAE, which has been soaring ahead with the implementation of the ‘Dubai Blockchain Strategy’, saw its Abu Dhabi Ports officially launch its blockchain solution that enables real-time tracking of cargo, in June 2018.

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