The Port of Rotterdam Authority, Dutch bank ABN AMRO and Samsung SDS have launched a pilot based on blockchain technology for the complete, paperless integration of physical, administrative and financial streams within international distribution chains.
According to the three companies, there is still a lot of space in the logistics sector to use digitization to achieve more transparency and efficiency. The ultimate goal is to simplify the whole container transportation and financing process. The development of the pilot has been assigned to BlockLab, a subsidiary established by the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
“Currently payments, administration and the physical transportation of containers still take place entirely via separate circuits,” said Paul Smits [right in photo], chief financial officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. “This results in inefficiency as many parties are involved and everything is organized via paper documentation. For instance, an average 28 parties are involved in container transport from China to Rotterdam. The transportation, monitoring and financing of freight and services should be just as easy as ordering a book online.”
Daphne de Kluis [centre in photo], CEO of commercial banking at ABN AMRO, said that the pilot would be integrating workflow management, track and trace, the digitization of paper documentation such as waybills, and the financing of handled freight or services.
“The ultimate goal is to reach an open, independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers,” said de Kluis. “This will make the logistics chain more transparent and efficient, and millions of euros can be saved in the long term.”
Samsung SDS is the IT solutions division of South Korean conglomerate Samsung. A subsidiary called Samsung SDS Global SCL Netherlands, established in 2011, has developed an integrated logistics solution called Cello.
“Blockchain offers all parties in the logistics chain the opportunity to coordinate activities using validated data and without central management,” said Sanghun Lee [left in photo], president of Samsung SDS EU/CIS. “Digitization provides automation, which creates an ultra-efficient logistics chain. What is particularly special about the project is that, for the first time in the rather short history of this technology, we can have different blockchains operating together. This takes place via an overarching notary that connects entirely separate blockchains in Korea and the Netherlands.”
The pilot, which begins in January 2019, involves the multimodal transport of a container from a factory in Asia to a location in the Netherlands. While the pilot will initially be implemented by the three parties, the cooperative network will subsequently become open for other parties to join. The results of the pilot will be announced in February 2019, according to the three companies.