According to the CIO of Federal Express [FedEx] – Rob Carter – International shipping and delivery is just waiting for mandated blockchain standards, highlighting that this will lead to a far greater spread of adoption within the industry for blockchain technology.
The widespread adoption of this technology would allow for authorities to easily and securely track goods on an international level while helping address the prevalence of international trafficking or counterfeiting / illegal goods.
Decentralizing and Digitalizing the Mail Paper Trail
While attending and speaking within a panel discussion during the Blockchain Global Revolution Conference, Carter spoke about the kind of logistics that are involved in the shipping, tracking and documentation that goes behind the delivery of a package, he went on to explain, with some of these documents proving to be just as important as the . package being shifted.
While this entire process has been one that has rigidly been tracked, documented and managed through a conventionally paper-based, often digitalized system of digital documentation. As a result, the transfer of these documents takes place through what can be described as antiquated technology with no real-time or highly responsive data feedback.
If there were to be widespread adoption of a standardized system of blockchain technology across the whole of the industry would put the entire industry on a truly level playing field. According to Carter:
“We’re not an organization that pushes for more regulatory control, but there are times regulatory mandates and pushes can be incredibly helpful.”
Collaborating In Order to Define Rigid Transport Standards
While the shipping and delivery industry is carved up with clear lines delineating competitors. While this is originally the case, FedEx has officially partnered up with a range of its competitors including Express, DHL and UPS in order to help collaborate and form the Blockchain in Transport Alliance). The underlying objective of this is to strike down the standards for this kind of a system for future application of this technology.
At the moment, while a delivery company like UPS can effectively manage a single supply chain of transactions, these can often be subject to bottlenecks, strains and other breaks when it has to deal with real-world scenarios with a wide range of shippers.
While a company can make use of DHL in order to ship various supplies from, for example, the United States to Germany. This part can then be subsequently shipped to South America through another supplier like UPS before this same fitted component can then travel to Japan through the use of FedEx.
Through the application of blockchain technology, this elaborate, world spanning supply chain can be made possible, and would enable all of the information from one trip all the way to the other side of the world, while being shared between the various parties and companies with different national bodies.
Stemming the Tide of Counterfeiting, Illegal Goods and Dangerous Components
It was only over the course of this month that the White House outlined the dire need for a way of addressing the prevalence of counterfeit trading of false goods. This globe-trotting black market is estimated to have an estimated total market valuation of nearly half a trillion dollars on an annual basis.
One of the great solutions to this is the use of a permissioned blockchain that would form a highly secure, permanent ledger, along with the applied use of sensors commonly applied from Internet of Things (IoT) as well as RFID tags. Through the application of these components would allow for seamless, real-time feedback on conditions relating to transportation.
With this digitalized network of authorized entities and companies, whether they are shippers, freight companies, government agencies, regulatory bodies or just customers, this system would allow for the instantaneous tracking of packages all the way up and down the supply chain.
According to Richard Smith, who works as the CEO of FedEx logistics, there is a profound level of concern from governmental agencies, especially in industries where blockchain has not been widely adopted. He mentioned the following in retort, which was the following –
“You’re the government. You can mandate that it’s widely adopted.”
Can the Government Mandate an Industry Spanning Adoption of Blockchain Technology?
One of the ways in which FedEx believes that the single fastest way to modernize and bring greater efficiency to the shipping and delivery industry is by getting the government to mandate the application of blockchain technology.
In doing this, FedEx believes that this will allow for a seamless streamlining of the industry, allowing for customers to experience an easy to use, simplistic approach towards cross-border transportation, shipping, as well as fulfilling the needs for brokerage within this industry.
One of the other advantages is that it would provide an innovative approach to support customs and border security entities, allowing for them to achieve their goals, and cut down significantly on the flow of illegal trafficked goods.
Shipping, freight, and delivery services have, for a long time, been one of the industries with a very ambitious plan regarding the implementation of blockchain as a long-term, innovative solution. Through the application of blockchain in a standardized and government mandated system could very well spell out one of the worlds first real use cases for blockchain technology.
Will FedEx be able to apply blockchain and become one of the first shipping companies in the world to use blockchain technology in a meaningful way? Let us know in the comments!