A consortium of companies have tested an Accenture blockchain solution that is able to eliminate the need for printed shipping documents, and could save the logistics and freight industry hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Each company that took part in the trials represented a particular stakeholder in the shipping process: AB InBev represented a typical exporter; APL contributed its role as a shipping organisation; Kuehne + Nagel provided direction on the requirements for a freight forwarder and a European customs organisation replicated the regulatory requirements that cargo faces.
The consortium collaborated to test 12 real shipments, with various destinations, each with different regulatory requirements. According to Accenture, the tests confirmed that blockchain can reduce operating costs and increase supply chain visibility.
With the blockchain solution, documents aren’t exchanged physically or digitally, instead the data is shared and distributed using blockchain technology under single ownership principles determined by the type of information.
“Our trials have proven the viability of a shipping process in which many documents can be replaced by secure and distributed data sharing with clear and defined ownership,” said Adriana Diener-Veinott, who leads Accenture’s Freight & Logistics industry practice. “This gives companies a significant opportunity to save time and money while improving their service to customers.”
Eddie Ng, head of strategic liner management at APL, said: “As a facilitator of global trade and strong advocate of innovation, APL sees much potential in blockchain technology to accelerate the digital transformation of the container shipping industry, moving us from traditional paper-based transactions to more efficient, more secure and faster processes along the entire supply chain.”
Martin Kolbe, chief information officer of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, said: “As part of Kuehne + Nagel’s digitalisation strategy, we explore innovative technologies to create benefits for our customers. Blockchain is one of the most promising technologies in logistics. It has the potential to digitalise many of today’s paper-based processes and overcome the multitude of different interfaces. From our perspective, the open and collaborative approach applied in this project is key to gaining traction in the industry and the required market acceptance.”
Danillo Figueiredo, VP of international logistics, AB InBev:“We continually evaluate new technologies and innovations to enhance our operations to meet consumer needs and deliver the freshest beer. Blockchain technology will be transformational to our business and the world. It reduces mistakes, digitises information and improves the supply chain process so we can focus on our core business of brewing the best beers for consumers.”