Blockchain Insider Today is a newsletter about  blockchain in the enterprise.  Although cryptocurrencies may pop up from time to time, our main focus is on efforts to reshape companies and industries around distributed ledger technology.   If you have a story to tell or to recommend, send me a note at blockchaininsidertoday@gmail  And don't forget to subscribe now so you'll never miss an update. 
If you're one of those skeptics who still think blockchain is a solution in search of a problem; here's a candidate for you.  The global $8.1 trillion dollar shipping and logistics industry is riff with systemic inefficiencIes, costly intermediaries, poor transparency, and outright fraud.  Moving goods and services from Point A to Point Z is the basic underpinning of global trade but the process is messy from start to  finish. 

The industry is clogged by an army of brokers who act as middlemen between shippers and carriers, typically charging a high premium, sometimes up to 50%.  Eliminating that middle layer and dealing directly with each other could reduce the cost of shipping by up to a third.

Theft is a rampant.  In the U.S. alone, more than $30 billion of goods a year are stolen in transit. 

Lack or loss of proper documentation can cause perishable goods lying in wait to spoil and end up costing as much as a fifth of the total expense of physical transportation.  Transparency is rare because carriers don't communicate with each other. 

Can blockchain fix all these problems?  Lack of efficiency, transparency and security across global networks is exactly the problem blockchain technology is designed to solve.  If  the technology lives up to its promise, things will get better for everybody involved--except perhaps the brokers.
  • Logistics giant DHL and Accenturehave just announced a working blockchain-based serialization prototype with nodes in six geographies to track pharmaceuticals across the supply chain. By enabling manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors to  validate this information in real time and if anyone tries to tamper with, alter or erase a record, everyone will know..
  • Money Quote“The experiments with blockchain in finance are well known, but we believe logistics is an area where the new technology will have a truly profound impact.” - Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.  
  • Blockshipping is a new company started by a group of Danish shipping and technology experts, with several former Maersk employees on its executive team, including  the CEO Peter Ludvigsen.  Ludvigsen says the company will promote a sharing economy model in the shipping industry--providing an Airbnb-style service for containers. 
  • UPS has thrown its support behind the Blockchain in Transport Alliance  (BiTA), a forum of hundreds of transport companies, whose mission is the development of blockchain technology standards and education for the freight industry. The alliance hopes to spur standards development for the shipping industry as a whole by implementing a secure blockchain system.
  • IBM and Maersk have unveiled a new collaboration to use blockchain technology to help transform the global, cross-border supply chain by allowing the shippers, ports, customs offices, banks, and other stakeholders in global supply chain manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers across the world by digitizing the supply chain process from end-to-end.
  • Louis Dreyfus Co.  (LDC), one of the world’s largest agriculture commodity traders, recently joined with global financial institutions ING, Société Générale and ABN Amro to sell and ship 60,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans (2.2 million bushels) to Chinese buyer Shandong Bohi using a digital blockchain platform.  

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