Blockchain in Freight: Your Next Step Toward Complete Visibility

By: Lance Healy

In a recent article published by Transport Topics magazine (and available here online), the author, Roger Gilroy, reports on the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), a new group formed to advance the use of blockchain in the freight industry.

Blockchain is an emerging technology developed to track transactions in the crypto-currency sphere. However, more recently, thought-leaders and innovators within the freight industry are increasingly interested in blockchain’s capabilities in regards to the tracking and tracing of freight shipments.

Banyan Technology’s Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Lance Healy was recently featured in the August issue of The Logistics Journal regarding the technology’s potential. As quoted in the featured article, Lance says, “blockchain sounds like a medieval prison system, but it couldn’t be more liberating.” What Lance emphasizes is how confidently companies can ship freight when they are using blockchain. With blockchain technology, a freight shipment’s journey is tracked and accounted for every step of the way. This means that if something were to go wrong, everyone attached to the freight cycle would know immediately where and why the disturbance took place. Blockchain offers shippers a peace-of-mind that they can’t get with any other technology.

According to the Deloitte consulting firm, and referenced in the Transport Topics article, blockchain is a way to share information in a communal setting. This may sound like a hazard for keeping information secure, but the best part of blockchain is that any updates to the chain of information must be validated by whoever holds other pieces of the thread. This ensures that no single member of the process can edit or falsify the data without the other information-holders being made aware.

In Transport Topics, Lance Healy was quoted as saying, “I think a lot of folks will trust process and verification and validation—not right away, but we will start to see this migration of the shift of trust to the process versus the people. It will be less about relationships…it will be a lot simpler to say, ‘Well, I can trust this, this has been verified.’”

With this quote, Lance is looking towards a future where trust in blockchain isn’t even questioned. Lance believes the entrance of millennials into the workplace will be a large proponent towards complete trust in technology. When blockchain becomes the norm in freight tracking, look for processing loads and disputing load issues to be streamlined, especially when every member of the freight cycle is on the same page technologically.

As a way to regulate and educate the freight industry where blockchain is concerned, the BiTA was formed to “develop common standards around blockchain applications in the trucking industry.” Craig Fuller, co-founder of the recently created alliance, says that because there will be multiple sources passing off transactions, it is important to have common standards, especially since this technology is new to the industry. According to BiTA’s website, they believe that “a market is only as strong as its educational foundation,” clarifying that the alliance is focusing on blockchain education, before full-on implementation. As an implementation strategy, education of the freight industry is an important first step.

Looking towards the future, blockchain will soon be a trusted and widespread technology throughout the freight industry. Due to its potential, Banyan Technology has begun carving out a blockchain application. Thanks to those who are educating the freight industry, blockchain technology will hit the ground running among companies who are looking to take their business to the next level.

 

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