Blockchain Solution Passes the Test
A BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTION that can eliminate the need for printed shipping documents and save the transportation and logistics sectors hundreds of millions of dollars annually has been tested successfully by a consortium comprising AB InBev, Accenture, APL, Kuehne + Nagel, and a European customs organization.
The consortium tested a solution where documents are no longer exchanged physically or digitally. Instead, the relevant data is shared and distributed using blockchain technology under single ownership principles determined by the type of information. Through a detailed review of the current documentation processes, the group examined a re-allocation of information ownership, accountability and risk enabled by the trust, and security blockchain technology offers.
An international shipment of goods for companies in areas such as the automotive, retail, or consumer goods industries typically requires more than 20 different documents, many of which are often paper-based, to enable the goods to move from exporter to importer. Across these documents, up to 70 percent of the data can be replicated. The document-heavy approach limits data quality and real-time visibility to all parties involved in the trade and this can also delay the financial settlement on goods.
The blockchain solution can speed the entire flow of transport documents, reduce the requirement for data entry by up to 80 percent, simplify data amendments across the shipping process, streamline the checks required for cargo, and reduce the burden and risk of penalties for customs compliance levied on customers.
The consortium represents typical stakeholders across an international shipment: AB InBev represented a typical exporter; APL a shipping organization; Kuehne + Nagel a freight forwarder, and a European customs organization replicated the regulatory requirements that cargo faces. Accenture provided the technological and consulting expertise on the blockchain technology and developed the technical architecture required to support a blockchain solution, leveraging the capabilities of its Singapore Internet of Things practice to rapidly build the prototype.
The companies collaborated to test 12 real shipments, with various destinations, each with different regulatory requirements. The tests confirm that blockchain can reduce operating costs and increase supply chain visibility.