The global transport and logistics industry is a huge sector that demands fast processes, secure data and information flows, and above all the safety of the goods being transported.
Technological development constantly contributes to the introduction of more effective information-sharing and communication solutions. These solutions increase the efficiency of logistics processes. Recently, other revolutionary solutions have also appeared in the TSL industry, namely blockchains.
What is a blockchain? It is a database distributed on the Web. The same information is saved on many servers and encrypted using cryptographic keys. If you want to get information, you compare the same data on multiple servers. Ultimately, the user receives feedback that is identical on many servers. This eliminates the harm of any single changes that hackers may have made, as changing information on multiple servers at the same time is not possible. This is one of the main advantages of this technology.
This method of collecting data on the Internet allows a company to work without centralized computers. All transactions and accounting entries are recorded online. All necessary information is stored and duplicated on multiple servers in the cloud.
How can the TSL industry benefit from this technology? According to Maciej Tyburczy, Head of the Lean & Process Management Division in the AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG international transport and logistics group, the main advantage is unprecedented process transparency.
"All information and documents will be on the Web. We will avoid paper documentation and the goods will be tracked by GPS transmitters on a larger scale than before.
Each stage of the process – from receiving the transport order through loading, transport, unloading and finalizing transport documentation – will be accurately reflected in the online system. Access to this information will be given to everyone involved in the process. Insofar as is appropriate security-wise, of course,” continues Maciej Tyburczy.
The next benefit of blockchain technology is lower service costs. It is estimated that global expenses related to the administration and archiving of documentation in the TSL industry will be five times smaller than before.
Blockchain-based approaches guarantee data security and accuracy because the information is duplicated on many servers and encrypted with strong cryptographic keys.
Currently, companies like FedEx, Kuehne + Nagel, Maersk, and IBM are testing, pioneering, and integrating blockchain-based technologies. According to Maciej Tyburczy, blockchain technologies may enter popular use this decade.
“To sum up, there will be a large, well encrypted database duplicated on many servers. It will contain full information about every shipment, including documentation, location of the goods, and all activities at all stages of the process.
Every international provider of transport and logistics services should systematically implement the latest technological solutions. AsstrA sees huge potential in blockchain technology and is exploring how to best implement related solutions in the company’s operations,” concludes Head of the Lean & Process Management Division in the AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG international transport and logistics group.