Blockchain and Shipping: What You Need to Know

It’s no wonder that blockchain and shippers are working together to optimize the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain’s digital ledger allows the entire shipping process to be tracked in real-time, providing endless opportunities for supply chain visibility and accountability. It’s revolutionizing the shipping industry with publicly accessible and digitized assets.

Blockchain, a public digital record

The media often associate blockchain with cryptocurrency and NFTs. But with all its buzzworthy applications aside, blockchain is simply a public digital ledger at its core. It is a decentralized record within a system of assets shared in a peer-to-peer network, and those assets are immutable—cementing a permanent and unalterable history of all transactions.

The immutability of blockchain makes its transactions very difficult to change and very easy to track. And while blockchain technology is still most noteworthy in its organization of cryptocurrency coins, the blockchain network can also be used to organize any type of record. That means the entire shipping process can use this aspect of blockchain technology—digitizing the entire process.

Blockchain increases transparency

The primary use of blockchain technology in the shipping industry is enhanced visibility and accountability in the supply chain. Blockchain’s ability to keep a record of transactions facilitates digitization of invoicing, which eliminates the need for paperwork.

Blockchain also allows for secure peer-to-peer transactions within its decentralized network, encrypting data and eliminating administrative and security-related steps of the invoicing process. Blockchain allows for data to be moved without interference, allowing for secure access. Also, data can be organized in real-time—promoting overall supply chain efficiency.

A decentralized ledger can also organize contracts, supporting transparency in managing carrier relationships. The real-time trackability of digitized assets allows shippers to easily track their shipments from production to delivery—enabling greater accountability for carriers and suppliers. Shippers can precisely show where a mistake or mishap occurs, which allows for effective resolution of loss and damage claims. Blockchain records are also permanent and incorruptible, promoting an immutable and therefore trustworthy distribution of information.

Third party applications of blockchain

Banks, suppliers and other third parties to the shipping industry can also utilize blockchain technology, further digitizing the supply chain. The more a digital ledger becomes commonplace in the global marketplace, processes for production, delivery and shipping will be continuously streamlined and digitized. This trend benefits shippers and customers alike.

The future of cryptocurrency

Blockchain and shipping work together by moving digital assets, but the value of cryptocurrency coins as an asset to shippers has yet to be determined. Bitcoin can be used to purchase shipping labels for major domestic and international carriers. Ethereum blockchain has even been used for shipping transactions. The future of cryptocurrency overall is uncertain, but blockchain’s ability to organize contracts and shipping transactions is proving to be an invaluable application for shipping.

Seamless integration with TMS

Blockchain streamlines logistics with paperless operations that update automatically. A robust TMS promotes the transparency of blockchain and shipping by organizing blockchain data in an easy-to-access real-time integration platform.

Honeybee TMS by CTSI-Global incorporates blockchain applications made available through the platform, so shippers can track shipments anywhere in the world, at any time. Honeybee TMS also supports paperless invoicing and real-time management of access to thousands of carriers. TMS equipped to integrate blockchain is essential as the shipping industry continues to digitize operations.

Contact CTSI-Global today to talk about how your company can best integrate blockchain and shipping with TMS.