As the “ supply chain industry is fragmented, with parties adopting a siloed approach,” blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) could bring standardization and transparency to the industry, according to the World Economic Forum.
To that end, on May 1, leaders from the global supply chain and logistics industry, the world’s largest ports, blockchain start-ups, importers/exporters and civil society have announced they will team up with the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, and over 20 governments to accelerate blockchain deployment across supply chains.
The Forum’s “Redesigning Trust with Blockchain in the Supply Chain,” project is a new initiative to help supply chain decision-makers cut through the blockchain hype and ensure that the technology is deployed in an interoperable, responsible and inclusive way.
Over 100 organizations and experts are on the team, representing large shippers, supply chain providers and governments. They include Maersk, Hitachi, Mercy Corps, Korea Customs Service, Llamasoft and Ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Valencia, and Rotterdam. The multi-stakeholder group will co-design an open-source roadmap or toolkit to guide supply chain decision-makers towards blockchain deployment. It will highlight technical and non-technical drivers of success, risks and recommendations as well as requirements.
“We believe that blockchain is a promising technology for several industry verticals, including the financial sector, distribution and logistics, among others,” said Norihiro Suzuki, Ph.D., Vice President and Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and General Manager of the Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd. “Hitachi is actively contributing to the development of platforms through open source software communities. We are looking forward to working with the World Economic Forum to bring together these communities to explore the future of supply chains and data flow economy.”
.Analysis in the first white paper points to a mindset shift in business from protective and silo-thinking towards a willingness to try new collaborative models. Competing ports have started to share data to optimize calls of shipping liners in the North Europe area. The ports also expressed willingness to expand their model to other ports. Similarly, and beyond the shipping industry, the world’s four largest agriculture companies have partnered to digitize international grain trading.
“As digital technologies such as blockchain increasingly encourage higher levels of trust among supply chain partners, they will have effects on processes in the physical world as well,” Hewett said. “As a result, fragmentation within and across industries could diminish, the occurrence of errors and exceptions could decline, and operators could require fewer resources to complete the same tasks.”