Global Shipping Industry Accelerates Digitization Through Blockchain Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

There has been a acceleration in the digitalisation drive in a global shipping and logistics sector because of the crisis brought along by the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to industry leaders this sector is still used to routinely delivering many documents through bike messenger in some countries.

A blockchain platform aimed at limiting the use of the costly paper trail in this sector will be joined soon by ports operator DP World along with shipping company Maersk and other peers, the company said on Thursday.

“The situation around the coronavirus is a very good catalyst for making sure everyone in the supply chain can communicate with each other digitally,” Mike Bhaskaran, DP World’s chief operating officer for logistics and technology, told the media in an interview.

There are plans of connecting the entire business of entire business, including its 82 container terminals, using the blockchain technology, which will include the firm’s 82 container terminals, through the blockchain technology, said the Dubai-based company, which is also one of the biggest port operators of the world.

The global shipping and logistics sector has seen little innovation since the container was invented in the 1950s and analysts are hopeful that blockchian technology usage can help this sector to reduce costs. That is the reason that the success of the TradeLens platform, launched in 2018 by Maersk and IBM, and the participation of key companies of the sector on this platform is being seen as crucial for the entire sector.

“The current circumstances have shown that digitalisation of the logistic supply chain is picking up pace,” Vincent Clerc, Maersk’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview.

However, Clerc said that the platform has yet to reach a “critical mass” to make a significant impact despite the platform being signed up for and joined by more than 200 ports, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port authorities and customs authorities already.

In order to deliver documents between ports and shipping agents, fleets of motorcycles known as ‘boda bodas’ are used in many African countries by the sector giant Maersk.

“The physical flow of documents with courier and local deliveries on bicycles, all of that will eventually go away,” Clerc said.

According to estimates, the average time period currently required for obtaining the necessary documents and stamps ready in order to ship a container with citrus fruits out of South Africa is about 228 hours.

(Adapted from IOL.co.za)

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