The Port of Rotterdam has begun to implement blockchain applications to facilitate the running of its electrical grid and logistics operations.
BlockLab, the Port of Rotterdam blockchain technology development division, has built an application relying on blockchain software which can securely track the ownership and location of cargo shipments: on average, 28 distinct parties are involved in any single freight logistics transaction; with documents containing potentially sensitive data on the shipment changing hands up to 200 times between its being dispatched and its final delivery. By integrating blockchain software into the data sharing process, BlockLab aims to connect all interested parties digitally, minimising both the need for excessive paperwork and the risk of administrative error.
BlockLab logistics lead Aljosja Beije said: “Blockchain is certainly not the solution to everything, but it can tackle the problem of trust that stands in the way of solutions. For existing parties in decentralised networks, cooperation is the only option they have to improve their efficiency: in this network, deploying blockchain is much more of a defensive strategy, focusing on retaining market share. We can play the role of civil law notary, but also prove that there is just one copy of a document and from which source that document originates. As civil law notary we ensure validated and thus reliable data. This creates unparalleled opportunities for automation and transactions and even new business models.”
A second Port of Rotterdam blockchain application will begin testing later in 2019, trading price incentives to maximise the efficient, sustainable consumption of energy. Rotterdam’s energy grid has become increasingly decentralised as renewable energy sources draw a larger share of the city’s energy provision; and Blocklab’s blockchain-enabled trading platform aims to ensure Rotterdam’s energy supply can continuously meet its residents’ demands.
Janjoost Jullens, energy lead at BlockLab, said: “Blockchain is the technology that can facilitate such a smart, decentralised gird and help achieve the promise of the energy transition. The focus on blockchain is an offensive strategy, geared towards increasing the share of sustainable energy. With blockchain we can design such a trading platform safely and efficiently. Moreover, we can automate the trade by establishing ‘smart contracts’ . . . a collection of logical rules that enables decision-making processes to be automated. For instance, the option of using energy automatically from a charged battery if the energy price exceeds a certain value.”