Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) says that it has completed its first voyage using blockchain, from booking to container delivery, the latest sign of the shipping industry’s adaptation of the technology, which HMM aims to refine and deploy by the year-end.
Blockchain pilot programs have been flourishing this year after Maersk Line announced it had joined up with IBM for a test of the technology. In the ensuing months, PSA International, Pacific International Lines, JD.com, and the port of Antwerp have all carried out tests of blockchain, which enables users to access and update information individually while providing a constant and secure record because the information cannot be retroactively altered. So, for example, a bill of lading could not be secretly manipulated during the shipping process, because the original is always visible.
“Adopting blockchain technology in shipping and logistics industry will enable all involved parties to securely share all the information such as certificate of origin and customs clearance information, and will also reduce a tremendous amount of paperwork,” HMM said in a statement.
The test voyage was from Busan to Qingdao from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4, and HMM says in October it will run more pilots with dry containers to places such as India and Thailand with an eye toward refining and updating the technology so that the carrier can deploy it at the end of this year.
HMM says it also tested Internet of Things technology to monitor and manage reefer containers in transit.
HMM’s success comes after a UK-based logistics software provider used blockchain to share container weight information to enable compliance with International Maritime Organization container weight regulations. That software will be released in the coming weeks, after a pilot period that was the subject of a white paper by a University of Copenhagen information technology professor, and the Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration, also based in Copenhagen. The paper concluded that the software “brings forward a value proposition that is quite unique.”
The South Korean carrier in the first half reported a $794 million loss despite a 45.5 percent year-over-year surge in second-quarter traffic to 986,022 TEU. Trans-Pacific volumes went up by 34.5 percent year over year, and Asia-Europe and intra-Asia shipments rose 94.5 percent.