Blockchain Is Sea Freight’s Productivity Revolution

Apr 30, 2020 Sara Zipf Sara Zipf

Getting ahead in the competitive sea freight market is a matter of productivity. With challenges such as carbon efficiency, the threat of aviation and the locally-sourced food trend present and growing, analysts including Forbes have highlighted blockchain as the solution for all of shipping’s inefficiencies. What does blockchain do to add assurance to the sea freight process, and how can it be implemented in a seamless way to have a meaningful impact on supply chains today?


Managing resources

A primary objective of sea freight in ensuring efficiency is managing productivity and resources. Effective resource management requires a careful assessment of loads, schedules, and what is making the business ‘tick’. Having an effective management system makes this far easier, and proprietary technology is a big business in this regard. Blockchain will become an excellent way in which to manage resources. One study, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that blockchain can be applied across a range of industries to quickly, effectively and accurately monitor resources. The very specific distributed public ledger allows companies across the supply chain, and partners within the company, to easily and seamlessly manage data to improve efficiency. Managing resources is, therefore, made easy by blockchain – which in turn helps to answer the ‘green question’.


Addressing eco-needs

Staying productive while also conforming to increasing pollution standards is a huge challenge for the shipping freight industry. While consuming 90% of global trade, global shipping also has a huge impact on the carbon footprint of the world. Reducing this has been a primary concern and a requirement of many industrialized nations. Blockchain can help this, at least some of the way. Through dividing the minute details of any shipping operation and ensuring that everything can be accounted for, this eliminates two factors: waste, and unnecessary travel. Few plans can go into the level and quality of detail that one enabled by blockchain does, and this will help to manage resources in such a way to obtain peak performance and avoid any need for fuel to be wasted and cause excess emissions.


Finding a place in a changing world

Consumers globally are increasingly becoming more interested in local produce. In the UK, for example, 79% of people were found to prefer locally sourced goods, according to survey company YouGov. Freight is ultimately bound to consumer priorities, and this is a challenge for international shipping. Blockchain once again provides a solution; it allows for micro schedules and routes to service this need, with the use of blockchain-held data and solutions powerful in assessing and creating services that are highly personalized to the customer. By getting smart with data, sea freight can have a real benefit to those locally sourced good networks.

By having a role in those networks in a safe and environmentally progressive way, sea freight can secure a leading role in the trade networks of the future. With blockchain in hand, managing resources and driving productivity can be made easy in meeting the challenges of tomorrow. Embracing technology and the change it brings will be transformative.

Sara Zipf graduated in marine biology before moving to work for a leading environmental NGO. For the past half-decade she's raised her two daughters and taken up her passion of writing.

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