A new project, called the "Beer Living Lab," will track cargo container shipments of Heineken beer from Europe to the United States using satellite and cellular technology. The hope is for faster deliveries and reduced costs for international trade through paperless documentation.
Beer Living Lab is a joint project of IBM, Heineken, international shipping company Safmarine, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam) in conjunction with Dutch Customs, UK Customs and US Customs and Border Protection. Safmarine will ship 10 shipping containers of Heineken beer from locations in the Netherlands and England, through their respective customs authorities, to the Heineken distribution center in the United States. The university will coordinate and document the project.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, more than 30 different documents are associated with each container crossing a border. That equals roughly five billion documents annually. The findings of the Beer Living Lab project will provide a viable alternative to manufacturers, shippers, retailers and customs administrations as they look to move to a paperless trade environment.
"The Beer Living Lab is setting a roadmap for the next generation e-Customs solutions," said Dr. Yao-Hua Tan, professor of Electronic Business, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. "Companies using these solutions could benefit greatly due to less physical inspections by customs; thus these e-customs solutions greatly facilitate international trade."