Blockchain in transport on the rise

blockchain in transport
© iStock/MF3d

Corporate adoption of distributed ledger technologies including blockchain in transport has skyrocketed in the last few years, prompted by the convenience and user benefits of disruptive technology.

The business world has seen a widespread uptake of blockchain in transport, pharmaceuticals, finance, real estate and other industries. A McKinsey report last year predicted that blockchain disruption would be responsible for between $80 and $100 billion (€71-€89 billion) in commercial impact by 2021. Up to 30 per cent of current job roles in banks will be phased out by disruptive technologies by 2025. 80 per cent of the world’s banks either have or are developing blockchain data strategies.

More than 85 per cent of the world’s trucking-related business transactions are conducted by members of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a member-driven organisation devoted to encouraging the adoption of blockchain within the logistics industry. BiTA, the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, has nearly 500 members across 25 countries, accounting for over $1 trillion (€890 billion) in annual revenue.

Advantages of adopting blockchain in transport as a transaction medium include:

  • Reduced paperwork – minimising the risk of paper forms becoming lost or misfiled and reducing a business’s impact on the environment;
  • The capacity to track transactions, audits, performance history and freight capacity in real time;
  • Streamlined capability to issue and pay invoices;
  • High levels of cryptographic security and improved fraud detection; and
  • Decentralisation – by improving transparency and accessibility, opening up businesses to consumers who might not have been willing or able to engage with traditionally applied systems.

Blockchain in transport is seeing a rise in interested consortia, from BiTA to the Global Shipping Business Network. Groups of freight and logistics firms are banding together to build distributed ledgers, boost their technological and security credentials and save money by streamlining supply chain paperwork processes.

In 2017 Saïd Business School, Oxford University’s business studies department, launched a six-week online course in digital blockchain strategy, designed to prepare business executives for the impending boom in adoption of blockchain in transport, finance and other fields. Led by Professor Nir Vulkan and Associate Fellow David Shrier, the course aims to teach business leaders and innovators how and why to use blockchain, the technology’s potential effect on business in the future; and how businesses can adapt to emergent technologies.

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