A consortium comprising AB InBev, Accenture, APL, Kuehne + Nagel and a European customs organization have successfully tested a block chain solution that can eliminate the need for printed shipping documents. If implemented, the blockchain solution could save the freight and logistics industry hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The tests confirmed that blockchain can reduce operating costs and increase supply chain visibility.
The consortium conducted the blockchain integrated trial on 12 shipments destined to different ports having varying regulatory requirements. In the shipment process AB InBev represented a typical exporter, while APL acted as a shipping organization. Kuehne + Nagel provided direction on the requirements for a freight forwarder and a European customs organization replicated the regulatory requirements that cargo faces. The blockchain architecture was developed by Acceuture at their Singapore IoT Hub.
During the testing process, none of the shipping documents were exchanged physically. The relevant data was shared and distributed using blockchain technology. The study indicated that blockchain can quicken the flow of shipping documents, while reducing the requirement for data entry by nearly 80%. The solution can also simplify data amendments across the shipping process and streamline the checks required for cargo. Ultimately, the risk of penalties is and the burden of customs compliance is reduced for customers.
Adriana Diener-Veinott, who leads Accenture’s Freight & Logistics industry practice, said
“Our trials have proven the viability of a shipping process in which many documents can be replaced by secure and distributed data sharing with clear and defined ownership. This gives companies a significant opportunity to save time and money while improving their service to customers.”
A cross-country shipment involving automotive, consumer or retail goods requires a minimum of 20 different documents. Most of these paperworks are required to move goods from exporter to importer.The study revealed that nearly 70% of the data can be replicated by blockchain.
Eddie Ng, head of Strategic Liner Management at APL
“As a facilitator of global trade and strong advocate of innovation, APL sees much potential in blockchain technology to accelerate the digital transformation of the container shipping industry, moving us from traditional paper-based transactions to more efficient, more secure and faster processes along the entire supply chain. We are therefore happy to be part of the exciting journey to explore how disruptive technology like blockchain can benefit our industry, and ultimately our shippers and their customers.”
Martin Kolbe, Chief Information Officer of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, said,
“As part of Kuehne + Nagel’s digitalization strategy, we explore innovative technologies to create benefits for our customers. Blockchain is one of the most promising technologies in logistics. It has the potential to digitalize many of today’s paper-based processes and overcome the multitude of different interfaces. From our perspective, the open and collaborative approach applied in this project is key to gaining traction in the industry and the required market acceptance.”
Danillo Figueiredo, VP of International Logistics, AB InBev.
“We continually evaluate new technologies and innovations to enhance our operations to meet consumer needs and deliver the freshest beer. Blockchain technology will be transformational to our business and the world. It reduces mistakes, digitizes information and improves the supply chain process so we can focus on our core business of brewing the best beers for consumers.”