Logistics is considered as the lifeblood of modern world with an estimation of 90% of world trade carried by international shipping industry every year. According to one estimate from the World Economic Forum, reducing supply chain barriers to trade could increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by nearly 5% and global trade by 15%
Block chain technology can help alleviate many of the frictions in global trade logistics including procurement, transportation management, track and trace, customs collaboration, and trade finance.
There are over 50,000 merchant ships involved in the global shipping industry and multiple customs authorities regulating the passage of freight, ocean freight is the major focus and block chain technology has potential to optimize the cost as well as time associated with trade documentation and administrative processing for ocean freight shipments
To unlock efficiency in ocean freight, Maersk and IBM have started a venture to establish a global blockchain-based system for digitizing trade workflows and end-to-end shipment tracking. The system allows each stakeholder in the supply chain to view the progress of goods through the supply chain, understanding where a container is in transit. Stakeholders can also see the status of customs documents, and can view bills of lading and other data. Block chain technology ensures secure data exchange and a tamper-proof repository for this documentation.
The two companies expect this solution to track tens of millions of shipping containers annually. It has the potential to significantly reduce delays and fraud, which could lead to billions of dollars in savings in the logistics industry.
Accenture is developing a block chain-based system also focused on replacing the traditional bill of lading as well as facilitating a single source of truth for all supply chain stakeholders for freight inquiries up to issuance of trade documents. Here, a decentralized network connects all parties in the supply chain and enables direct communication, eliminating the need to go through central entities and rely on intermediaries.
FIGHTING COUNTERFEIT PHARMACEUTICAL GOODS THROUGH BLOCK-CHAIN
One key application is the use of blockchain technology to combat a major challenge in the world today: the counterfeiting of drugs and false medication. According to Interpol, around 1 million people each year die from counterfeit drugs 15 – 50% of pharmaceutical products sold through rogue websites are considered fake, and up to 30% of pharmaceutical products sold in emerging markets are counterfeit.
To answer this challenge, DHL and Accenture are driving a blockchain-based serialization project providing sophisticated track-and-trace capabilities to the pharmaceutical industry Pharmaceutical serialization is the process of assigning a unique identity (e.g., a serial number) to each sealable unit, which is then linked to critical information about the product’s origin, batch number, and expiration date. Serialization effectively enables a unit to be tracked at virtually any moment, and traced to its location at any stage of its lifecycle.
A key serialization challenge is maintaining trace-ability and transparency especially when these units are repackaged or aggregated from unit to case to pallet for logistics purposes and then dis-aggregated back down to unit level for consumption.
The DHL /Accenture proof-of-concept was established to overcome this and other challenges by demonstrating the effectiveness of blockchain technology in product verification. The aim is to show that pharmaceutical products have come from legitimate manufacturers, are not counterfeit, and have been correctly handled throughout their journey from origin to consumer
Most importantly, this initiative proves how end customers can verify the legitimacy and integrity of pharmaceutical products, especially compliance with handling requirements. This not only reassures the end customer at the point of purchase that their medicines are genuine and in perfect condition, but has potentially life-saving implications.