Is the blockchain + shipping flower opening right?

On the occasion of the second anniversary of the establishment of the Xiong'an New District, according to the information of the official website of China's Xiong'an on April 6, the area has been using innovative technology for the past two years to create a city of innovation, which has created a block in the technology of blockchain technology. An blockchain fund management platform, which is a project integration management platform based on blockchain technology.

It is reported that the National Internet Information Office recently released the first batch of domestic blockchain information service filing list, and announced the first batch of 134 enterprises with a total of 197 blockchain information service projects. From the service function point of view, 197 districts have been filed. The blockchain information service platform mainly uses the blockchain to provide services such as anti-counterfeiting traceability, confirmation of deposit, supply chain finance and open platform.

Economist Song Qinghui said in an interview with the media that the release of the blockchain information service filing company means that the blockchain technology is taking the first step toward standardization, which is conducive to promoting the healthy development of the blockchain industry and enabling the block. The chain market has gone a long way.

Bitcoin is currently in its longest downturn since its birth. Is the blockchain technology brought about by it just a short-lived one? As the initial hype of the blockchain fades, the container shipping industry finds that the potential of the technology is almost matched with its challenges, which means that if the technology can It will take several years to get widely implemented.

Rob Bailey, co-founder and CEO of MState, said that while the blockchain does have the potential to subvert or transform many industries, it is still at a very early stage. Huang Wei, general manager of Shanghai International Port Group Shanghai Haibo Logistics Software Co., Ltd. believes that the concept of blockchain in the first two years is very hot, and now is a good time to discuss it, because some virtual things have been removed, the real part Slowly out of the water.

Three mainstream technologies for blockchain

According to statistics, as many as 20% of ships in the global shipping container fleet are off-grid at any time, there is no good way to track them. This is just an example of how the ancient transportation infrastructure can be inefficient, but it can pass Blockchain logistics innovation helps.

It is reported that major shipping companies are now developing blockchain logistics platforms, which may change the freight business. Blockchain logistics solutions can make global shipping a much more efficient system. The blockchain represents a new state persistence technology—and includes additional features such as digital signatures and tamper resistance, and currently includes three mainstream technologies:

database. First, databases (single, parallel, or distributed) have been used to persist state and query data for decades. A lot of valuable research has been used to optimize query processing and state persistence at different levels. Naturally, they have the highest performance in terms of transaction throughput and query latency. However, they have long been designed as a centralized management of a single institution. Therefore, there is no need for a consensus mechanism between different parties.

Public chain. A public chain is a public ledger (state) that is not managed by a centralized organization. That is to say, the books are distributed in a dynamic P2P network, and there may be malicious nodes in the network. In Bitcoin, the sharp performance degradation is due to the very slow design of the POW protocol itself. In any public chain, performance degradation is inevitable compared to a normal database. Because, in any case, to maintain the consistency of the distributed state, communication between different nodes in the (geographically distributed) network is necessary.

Alliance chain. The alliance chain represents a hybrid design choice. In particular, they are not a single centralized entity, but are authorized to a small number of pre-selected trusted nodes that can be written to. Since the database network does not scale to a large number of public nodes, its throughput and latency are much better than the public chain. Still, its performance is still not comparable to a centralized database.

The shipping industry door has been opened

One of the biggest advances in the history of modern shipping was the introduction of standardized shipping containers in the 1960s, setting a common scale for non-bulk transportation, making the standardized global infrastructure a potential industry. Standard shipping containers have changed the way global logistics occurs in the physical world, but in the background, it has not changed completely. Now the blockchain logistics platform can make some standardized containers for the backstage of global shipping to play a role in physical goods. The “blockchain” is revolutionary.

Blockchain technology is the frontier and trend of current technology development. All areas have high expectations for blockchain, and they are actively exploring application channels. In the last one or two years, the application of blockchain technology in the shipping industry is a hot topic. In view of the advantages of blockchain technology, high efficiency, high transparency and low cost, major shipping alliances and shipping giants are unwilling to catch up with the technology trend. Building a blockchain operating environment and platform should be said to be in the early adopter and trial phase.

In August 2018, the world's first container bill of lading with blockchain technology was successfully implemented in Koper, Slovenia (EU). The bill of lading for the shipment was issued electronically and in a super secure and reliable public blockchain network environment, the turnover was completed in a few minutes (and in the past it took days or weeks) and the bill of lading was lost, stolen or damaged. The risk is greatly reduced.

In March 2018, the first batch of smart contracts deployed on the blockchain was officially commissioned. The TEU token held as a booking deposit was successfully returned to the user after receiving the port EDI message of the textile goods. The goods included Two 40-foot cube containers from Malaysia to Brazil.

In 2018, Maersk and IBM announced the creation of TradeLens, a transportation solution that supports blockchains, bringing together parties to a common platform that supports the sharing and transparency of information and promotes more efficient and safer global trade. IBM and Maersk announced that 94 organizations have actively participated in or agreed to participate in the TradeLens platform built on open standards.

Blockchain technology acts as an open digital ledger that trade actors can use to record and extract detailed information about transactions with greater security, transparency and efficiency.

At the moment, blockchain technology is squeezing into the shipping industry from the looming door, and the shipping industry seems to be trying to adjust its preparation to fully embrace the technology in 2019.

For example, recently, the Port of Rotterdam announced a procedure to use blockchain records to speed up the passage of goods through ports, and the European Union recently announced that 24 member states will be part of the EU blockchain partnership. Denmark announced that they will be the first country in the European Union to use a blockchain to register vessels. Denmark is also a signatory to the recent EU blockchain partnership.

Danish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Finance Brian Mickelson made a comment after signing the statement. “The blockchain can cross national borders, and European cooperation is critical to ensuring future standards and solutions. So I am very happy that we have signed this declaration now.”

A series of advantages are proven

Recently, the application of blockchain technology by Star Shipping has enabled the shipping industry to further see the prospects and dawn of the application of blockchain in the shipping industry. Star Shipping is one of the largest container shipping companies in the world. After several years of trials, Star Shipping has implemented the blockchain platform technology of electronic bill of lading, replacing the traditional paper bill of lading, and is currently trying to further improve its business. Other activities that rely on physical transfer methods.

Star Shipping has recently conducted several transactions, and the bill of lading was transferred to the recipient less than two hours after leaving the ship, a process that typically took days or weeks in the traditional business model. After these successful trials and initial transactions, Star Shipping will soon enter the next phase of blockchain application, providing all customers with the experience of electronic bill of lading through blockchain technology.

Star successfully implemented a bill of lading that supports the blockchain, demonstrating the powerful functions of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for improving efficiency and reducing costs when recording and accounting financial transactions.

The application of blockchain technology in the shipping industry will make the entire industry more modern and efficient. Just as the conclusions drawn by Star Shipping's initial application of the blockchain, blockchain technology has indeed brought significant advantages to the shipping industry. In a blockchain platform environment, the supply chain parties can upload and share documents and information in an instant, immutable, and secure manner, and trigger payments when the agreed conditions are met. Each participant can track and manage the progress of the goods and the flow of the documents from start to finish.

Michael White, CEO of Maersk GTD and co-developer of TradeLens shipping “Ecosystem”, said: “The global supply chain is large and complex, and there is a large amount of bilateral peer-to-peer communications.” He said: “In an ideal world, the blockchain can be supplied. Achieve trustworthy bilateral cooperation and communication within the chain."

In short, the application of blockchain technology can significantly improve the operational efficiency of the shipping industry, increase transparency, reduce costs, and reduce the risk of documents being delayed, misplaced or tampered with.

Key time points in the next two or three years

However, with the gradual application of blockchain technology in industries outside the financial sector, including the application in the shipping industry, various new risks have gradually emerged.

Lionel Louie, CCO of supply chain software developer CargoSmart, believes: “The blockchain will be the Internet of value exchange, helping stakeholders track down errors and problems. However, controlling access to a given blockchain is critical. Only suitable People can access the chain, and only the right transactions and information can be exchanged and cooperated. The innovation we see is how to use this digital information."

According to Michael White, ocean carriers should adopt blockchain standards related to the supply chain they are involved in. The technology is not difficult, but it is difficult for the industry to accept these standards. How should the government respond to international regulatory challenges?

Michael White believes that in the early stages of any new technology, there are many participants with different standards, but in the end there is only one winner. Blockchain standards are now fighting on agreements. Within five years, many participants will fail, a few will win, more will buy, interoperability – the ability to work across platforms, and the ability to provide data bridges between different blockchains will Will grow.

At the just-concluded 2019 Asia International Grocery Transportation Exhibition, some industry insiders expressed another expectation for the blockchain. Chen Xiaoyan, marketing manager of the pulp and engineering project team of Guangzhou Port Co., Ltd., Nansha Grain General Terminal Branch, said: "The main function of Nansha Port is to dispose of bulk cargo, and the blockchain is mainly used in the container field. Bulk goods are non-standard parts. The entire logistics process is also more complex, and a platform is needed to further centralize and standardize this information so that the receiving/consignor can control the goods at each node, especially in the context of the “Belt and Road”. We often undertake some full-scale logistics projects overseas, or transport large projects such as power plants. The entire logistics chain is very long. If each participant can share some information in their own sub-centers, the control of the entire loading and unloading progress of the terminal will be Very helpful, this is my personal vision of the blockchain from the perspective of the bulk cargo terminal business."

Huang Wei revealed that Shanghai Port had abandoned the packing list more than ten years ago, basically paperless, and all the warehouse receipt information was exchanged through EDA. What is currently being solved with the shipping company is the electronic statement, which will be realized entirely through the blockchain in the future. In fact, it is also a good breakthrough direction.

Yan Jun, president of Shanghai Port Group, said that the ideal global blockchain alliance structure should be “regional chain”, “industry chain” and “international alliance chain”, and the three are mutually integrated. Blockchain related parties must have the following four points of consensus: the first is to recognize industry standards; the second is to identify the chain of technology can be applied; the third is to recognize the value of the "shipping chain" architecture; the last is to participate together, that is, all Members must follow the architectural design of the distribution of benefits. He also said, "The application of the shipping blockchain has seen the dawn. The next 2-3 years is the most crucial point in time. Whoever can smash the window paper will become very important in the future industry position."

Perhaps, the specific scene of "shipping + blockchain" will take some time to land.

Be wary of the risk of communication caused by the blockchain


As an emerging technology, blockchain has characteristics such as non-tampering and anonymity. It brings opportunities to the development of the country and brings convenience to social life. It also brings certain security risks, such as easy passage and dissemination. The combination of fields has been exploited by some lawless elements to disseminate illegal and harmful information, to carry out cybercrime and criminal activities, and to damage the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.

Some industry insiders also reminded that some blockchain information service providers have a weak sense of security responsibility, and their management measures and technical support capabilities are not perfect, posing new challenges to Internet information security.

The relevant person in charge of the National Internet Information Office said that it is urgent to introduce the information security management responsibility of the blockchain information service providers, standardize and promote the healthy development of blockchain technology and related services, and avoid the security risks of blockchain information services. Provide an effective legal basis for the provision, use and management of blockchain information services.

According to industry insiders, with the introduction of regulatory standards and the on-line management system, blockchain information services will be further standardized, which will help promote the healthy development of blockchain information services. Organizations involved in the provision of blockchain information services need to stipulate their implementation filing procedures, which will help establish a sound information security management system and technical support.

Author | China Water Transport News

Source | China Water Transport News

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