To boldly go where no one has, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) dared, successfully completing the world’s first blockchain powered shipping voyage from South Korea’s port of Busan to China’s Qingdao.
“HMM applied the blockchain technology to this pilot voyage – from shipment booking to cargo delivery – and reviewed the feasibility of adopting the technology into shipping and logistics. Combining the blockchain technology with the Internet of Things (IoT) technology was also tested and reviewed through real-time monitoring and managing of the reefer containers on the vessel as well,” the company said.
HMM used sensors in its containers, allowing it to receive real time monitoring and management, while using blockchain technology to instantly share information with multiple parties.
“Adopting blockchain technology in shipping & logistics industry will enable all involved parties to securely share all the information such as Certificate of Origin and customs clearance information, and will also reduce a tremendous amount of paperwork – such as inputting booking information and Bill of Lading – hence will improve work efficiency. Data will also be safer with stronger security through public-key cryptography,” the company says.
The pilot was undertaken as part of a consortium which includes the Korea Customs Service (KCS), Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), Busan Port Authority, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), Korea Marine Transport, IBM Korea and Samsung SDS, a member of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance.
The company is planning another voyage, expanding blockchain powered shipping destinations to India, China and Thailand, with a representative stating:
“We are reviewing various ways to improve our service and its quality through adopting IT technologies. By adopting the high-end IT technologies such as blockchain and IoT in shipping and logistics, we will become one of the pioneers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the industry.”
That fourth industrial revolution in this case seems to be powered by Hyperledger’s private blockchain considering IBM’s presence in the consortium, but an ethereum version is contained within Hyperledger, so it’s not quite clear which blockchain they used exactly.
Regardless, the world’s first blockchain powered shipping pilot resulted in “enhancing the efficiency of the whole process from booking the shipment to cargo delivery,” according to HMM.
So we may see more of them in the coming months, from HMM and other companies, as transport industries look to upgrade their capabilities to take advantage of 21st century technologies.