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Can blockchain revolutionize the supply chain or is it just hype?

While many experts are bullish on blockchain — particularly in the freight transportation space — others suggest the technology may still be a bit overhyped.

Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series on blockchain and its role in trucking. Read Part 2.

Few technologies have generated so much buzz in such a short period of time as blockchain. It is billed by many as having the potential to reduce the costs and risk of fraud across the global supply chain by making processes faster, less error-prone and more traceable. That includes details such as the condition of goods, or even the temperatures at which they were warehoused and transported.

Walmart and shipping giant Maersk Line are among the companies that have started implementing blockchain technology into aspects of their operations, providing greater product monitoring and transparency to consumers.

“Blockchain’s value propositions are attractive in use cases… when economic risk is high in the event of information corruption,” the Texas A&M Transportation Institute wrote in a 2018 report on the emerging technology.

“It is not going to be the cure-all for all of the problems in the logistics industry, but it is going to help with a lot of the trust issues,” speculated John Monarch, CEO of ShipChain.

Even NASA announced recently it has started exploring potential use-cases for blockchain technology in a bid to safeguard the privacy and security of aircraft flight data.

“The success of blockchain… has prompted significant investment in deploying the underlying infrastructure for application development and testing,” said Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research, which projects $10 billion in blockchain-related software and services revenue globally by 2023.

While many experts are bullish on blockchain — particularly in the freight transportation space — others suggest the technology may still be a bit overhyped. For example, Rajesh Kandaswamy, with research firm Gartner, said a survey of chief information officers found that just 3.3% had deployed blockchain software. “This technology that’s supposed to be revolutionizing financial services—we don’t see it yet,” he said.

Likewise, analysts at J.P. Morgan have said while trade is an area that could benefit from blockchain technology, lack of integration between private platforms could be a stumbling block.


This is the first part in a series on blockchain and its role in trucking. Part 2 will be published tomorrow.

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