How Blockchain Can Reshape Transportation and Logistics

By now you’ve heard a lot of buzz regarding BitCoin and the technology backbone, Blockchain through the news.  Whether it’s the rise and fall of Bitcoin currency or pundits speculating the future of cryptocurrency, however currency is only a small piece of the true potential of Blockchain in the marketplace.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is basically a distributed ledger for any asset—tangible or intangible—faultlessly tracking asset transactions without the potential of fraud or human error by distributing the ledger across all parties.  Should one ledger fall out of sync it’s immediately dismissed as a reference and either rebuilt or eliminated.  Essentially, the only way to defraud a Blockchain-managed ledger is to make simultaneous edits across all or the sweeping majority of computers/ledgers at the same instance.

Applications For Transportation and Logistics

Buying a Truck

Everything from truck maintenance to delivery to financial transactions requires impeccable record-keeping—precisely the intent of Blockchain.  Imagine purchasing a used truck and having 100% accurate and complete maintenance records; you’d buy with confidence.  The maintenance of that particular VIN is trackable and consistently updated from shop to shop, or mobile service unit.  Sound like simply digitized record keeping?  It’s more than that: because of the distributed nature of the ledger, no records can be deleted or omitted without a digital trail.

Commodity or Regular Deliveries

Since Blockchain is designed to track tangible and intangible assets and their respective attributes, verifying deliveries between shipper, logistics, and receiver are simple, and payment for goods and freight service can be managed electronically as well, with the potential for freight payment immediately after delivery confirmation.  No longer are invoices submitted and paid on trust or long verification processes; it’s now immediate.

Tracking Your Fleet

Imagine a faster means to measure capacity and track load weight using connected sensors.  A few international companies are working with IBM and sensor maker AOS SAS to outfit their fleets with the capability to report on a variety of metrics which will ultimately lead to greater operational efficiency and profitability.

Blockchain In The Wild

While many of us are armchair quarterbacking the philosophical benefits of Blockchain, a few companies have begun testing the use of Blockchain within logistics.  Walmart and IBM have tested tracking deliveries of certain perishable goods from packaging to retail outlet, and other food manufacturers have employed Blockchain as a means to record the production and packaging of food “from farm to table.”