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          How will Blockchain disrupt the Transport sector?

          Hailed as the biggest digital innovation since the internet, Blockchain is the virtual infrastructure that is changing the way we work.

          Blockchain will disrupt your industry.

          Transport companies are starting to look at how the technology has the potential to make supply chains more transparent and secure and enable smarter and more efficient logistics.

          First the basics: Understand blockchain in 6 minutes by watching our animation

          Skip video to: How Blockchain works >  
          Skip video to: What Blockchain means for business >

          How is Blockchain affecting Transport?


          Blockchain allows transactional information to be stored, traced and traded securely and privately between multiple users. Beyond Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, there are a number of opportunities for the transport industry.
           

          Supply chain visibility

          There are many examples, across a range of industries, of blockchain being used to increase visibility and transparency across supply chains. 

          The technology can record and store not only the exact location of the product in real time but also where it has been, the checks it has passed and also information about the state of the product (e.g. which temperatures it has been exposed to) in a tamper and forgery-proof way. All of this can be accessed by the numerous businesses in the chain and even the end-customer when they scan a code on a product. 

          This approach will help to grow customer trust and brand reputation. There will also be improvements in supply chain efficiency and a reduction in risk. Businesses will have easy access to immutable evidence, allowing the easy resolution of disputes with transporters and manufacturers.

           

          Digitising workflows and approval processes

          The logistics processes that underpin global trade are complex. A refrigerated shipping consignment can often have over 200 interactions before it reaches its end destination. Documentation (such as the bill of lading) is often paper based and highly bureaucratic. It becomes inevitable that existing logistics processes will be slow, inefficient and liable to human error.

          By adding stakeholders to a blockchain solution, the process can be entirely digitised by using self-executing approval processes allowing stakeholders to give electronic approval for the movement of goods in real time. This reduces delays and minimises the cost of existing administrative and documentation approval processes.

          Blockchain technology ensures that data can be shared between stakeholders in a secure and immutable way, creating an automatic audit trail for regulators, something which, given the use of existing paper based processes, the industry has struggled to do.

          Smart contracts and automation

          Smart contracts enable the self-execution of contractual provisions, which have been agreed upon and then been written in computer code. They trigger automatically once pre-determined conditions have been met.

          Smart contracts in the logistics industry have the ability to automate commercial processes the moment that agreed conditions are met.

          Disputes

          Smart contracts are being used to facilitate dispute resolution when goods have not been delivered correctly or have been damaged in transit. When used in combination with interconnected devices such as sensors or trackers, it is possible to determine whether goods have been delivered in accordance with the agreed terms in the contract (e.g. temperature, light, time). If the goods have not been delivered correctly, the smart contract can automatically trigger compensation or damages in accordance with its terms without the need for human involvement.


          Supply chain management

          Blockchain could be a game changer for supply chain management. Logistics businesses could insert provisions into smart contracts so that, if the condition of the goods are not correctly maintained during transit (for example, perishable goods not being maintained at the correct temperature), those goods could be immediately, and automatically, re-ordered. Using blockchain in this way prevents the need to wait until goods have reached their destination before such issues are discovered saving both time and money.

          The future

          In an environment where consumers expect a seamless and efficient end to end supply chain, and will base their purchasing choices on this factor, logistics companies must learn to compete on more than just price if they are to attract more cargo. Blockchain is just one of the ways large freight and haulage companies are looking to streamline and secure their approach.

           Have you thought about the legal implications of Blockchain?

          Jurisdiction

          • Which legal framework will apply?
          • What forum should be used to resolve disputes?
          • How do you govern entities that exist purely in cyberspace (known as “decentralised anonymous organisations” or “DAOs”)?

          Liability

          • How is ownership/control determined?
          • Where does the liability lie when something goes wrong?
          • How can businesses limit their exposure?

           

          Smart Contracts

          • How do you create a blockchain based contract (a “Smart Contract”)?
          • When will Smart Contracts be enforceable?
          • Can code determine issues of fairness?
          • How should disputes be resolved?
          • How do you govern decisions made by an AI?

           

          Regulation

          • How will regulatory authorities choose to approach blockchain?
          • How will blockchain interact with existing regimes such as those relating to consumers or finance?
          • How will tax laws apply to transactions a blockchain system?

          Terms and Conditions

          • What terms do you need to include to cover the particularities of blockchain such as payments in cryptocurrency?

          Data Protection

          • Who are the controllers and who are the processors?
          • How can privacy be protected on an open system?
          • How can you obtain all the necessary consents?

          How we can help 

          DWF’s market leading transport experts have come together to explore how Blockchain is disrupting the industry. We understand this complex technology and its legal ramifications and our transport sector experts are here to guide you through what the changes may mean for your business.

           

          Click here to view what is happening within our Transport sector >

          Jonathan Moss

          • Partner // Global Head of Transport Sector // Head of Marine & Trade