- Pacific International Lines (PIL) recently tracked in real time a shipment of 28 tons of mandarin oranges — a common gift during Chinese Lunar New Year symbolizing prosperity — through its journey from China to Singapore using IBM’s blockchain platform, according to a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
- The trial used an electronic bill of lading —still novel today with or without blockchain — that transferred through the various authorities instantaneously, reducing “document processing times to almost zero.”
- “By using the e-BL [electronic bill of lading], we have seen how the entire shipment process can be simplified and made more transparent with considerable cost savings,” Mr Tay Khiam Back, Chairman and CEO of Hupco, the consignee, said in a statement.
Pilot exercises like these can prove blockchain is a natural fit for the supply chain, especially to executives and investors who may be hesitant to become early movers in any new technology — let alone one with as much hype as blockchain.
Perishable food is a particularly appropriate application of this faster method of processing paperwork since time is of the essence. Provenance is also a concern for many modern consumers.
PIL and IBM reported lower operating costs for the transaction in terms of electricity and storage due to the increased speed of clearance, real-time visibility and therefore more accurate provenance information for the goods in question and a lowered risk of document fraud.
PIL put its chips down in favor of blockchain earlier than most, joining Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens project in August. Nine other carriers joined the other major ocean shipping blockchain alliance Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) in November.
The PIL-IBM collaboration was supported by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs (National TradePlatform), and Bank of China Limited Singapore Branch (BOC).