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Blockchain shows shipping and delivery benefits

Transportation providers are already investigating the pros and cons of blockchain.

HarvestMark-Trimble Navigation, a consultancy for traceability and quality control management, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, has been using it to streamline load assignments. Director Minos Athanassiadis says one shipper went from using 12 drivers to three and saw an increase of $3.5 million in revenue, thanks to the better matching of capacity and demand.

“Freight contracts, freight payment, asset maintenance, and ownership are all applications of blockchain we should expect,” says Charlie Loes, director of technology at Robinson Fresh, headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN.

“Blockchain represents a powerful tool for managing freight contracts with clear benefits in managing payments. Documentation and transaction fees are significant, especially across borders. Blockchain can make this process much more efficient, saving time and money. Banks are utilizing this process with early indicators of success.”

Using automated or “smart” contracts is certainly an advantage for those who deal in perishables. Smart contracts track activity and trigger payment as soon as commitments are met, in real time. Upon receipt of a load, for example, required items from temperature data to licenses are checked off electronically.

When all conditions are satisfied, the record is sent to the block, immediately initiating payment. Using blockchain in this way speeds up payment time, reduces the amount of paperwork and number of people involved, and helps determine liability if something does go awry.


This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.


Karen Raugust is a freelance writer who covers business topics ranging from retailing to the food industry.