You’ve probably been hearing a lot about “leaks” lately, given the Trump administration’s demands for investigation. The decision to disseminate or withhold information regarding President Trump, as well as the disagreement regarding its veracity once released demonstrates the tension in:
1) deciding whether information is safe to share and
2) trusting the information, once it is shared.
Historically, the shipping and logistics industry has faced similar dilemmas regarding information in terms of how and what to release safely. A simple shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe involves no less than 30 people and organizations and more than 200 interactions and communications, each carrying countless opportunities for fraud and error. Needless to say, the process involves a high degree of waste and inefficiency.
Blockchains, which create a permanent and shared record via distributed ledger technology, have “the potential to generate breakthroughs in three areas for supply chains: visibility, optimization and demand management.”
On March 5th, 2017, Maersk and IBM released a blockchain solution based on the Hyperledger fabric to revolutionize the global, cross-border supply chain. Their collaboration is designed to digitize supply chain processes, enhance transparency and information-sharing among trade partners, and to manage and track the millions of shipping containers worldwide. These improvements to accessibility improvements are not at the cost of security, as the data on a blockchain limits those authorized for access. Altogether, if the technology is adopted at scale, the industry may find itself saving billions of dollars while creating a simpler, more responsive process. And importantly, it expands the circle of trust.
As stated by Ibrahim Gokcen, chief digital officer of Maersk, the use of blockchain may “solve real customer problems and create new innovative business models for the entire industry.” And the solution will not only “reduce the cost of goods for consumers, but also make global trade more accessible to a much larger number of players from both emerging and developed countries.”