© Monsit Jangariyawong _blockchain80651814
© Monsit Jangariyawong

Blockchain has won another convert, as the logistics industry finds increasing applications for the technology.

The latest news is that liner agency and freight management company Kestrel has signed up to use blockchain technology to manage the SOLAS requirements.

SOLASVGM, a platform developed by forwarder Marine Transport International, helps customers become compliant with container weighing regulations by tracking data along the chain.

“The IMO regulations are designed to stop overweight containers getting onto ships, but there’s little to stop them on our roads,” said Andy Thorne, Kestrel’s chairman.

“By using SOLASVGM, we are connected to weighbridges and load points at the beginning of a journey, so we can stop overweight containers being loaded onto lorries.”

Blockchain is increasingly moving into the logistics sphere, as the supply chain is a good fit for the technology – essentially a ledger, where transactions are recorded and can be shared with multiple parties without needing to go through a central point.

While MTI was one of the first logistics companies to use the technology, originally created for bitcoin, others have quickly followed suit.

Maersk announced this month that it has been testing the technology for freight tracking, and Gatechain was runner-up in IATA’s Cargo Innovation Awards last week with its blockchain-based document generator for all parties along the supply chain.

“The OECD worked out that $100bn is wasted annually in trade processes just due to paper,” said Gatechain’s founder, Wassilios Lytras. “In ocean freight, the paperwork costs more than the actual transport.

“There is an interdependency between financial transactions and the movement of goods, and they slow each other down.

“We are building an incremental supply chain – an ecosystem that is open and built for the future.”

He explains that blockchain transactions would be broadcast to every Gatechain member and available to third parties, creating workflows for supply chain partners.

Jody Cleworth, CEO of MTI, said: “There’s been an explosion of interest in how blockchain can transform the supply chain and logistics industry.

“A lot of it is talk, but Kestrel’s commitment to finding new ways to digitise its business through this partnership is yet more proof that we have a real, practical application which is having a significant impact.”

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