AirAsia Launches Blockchain Centric Air Cargo Network

Asia Blockchain Review
May 2, 2020

AirAsia’s logistics arm Teleport announces Freightchain, a digital air cargo network run on blockchain.  A shipper or freight forwarder can now instantly book and confirm any of AirAsia’s aircraft to carry cargo, without the need to go through traditional time-consuming sales or email channels. The solution will assist shippers and their freight forwarders to discover all available cargo network connections owned by airlines for their supply chain needs. It then facilitates on-demand bookings in real-time through bids submitted and validated on blockchain. Especially during this unprecedented period, air cargo is vital in the global fight against COVID-19. A software to transparently bid and confirm urgent air cargo capacity in real-time is vital to keep global supply chains for life-saving medical supplies and equipment moving.

Uncertainty Is The New Normal

According to Freightchain’s Chief Technology Officer, Vishal Batra, the timing for the launch could not come at a better time. “We deliberately launched it during this period of uncertainty within global supply chains, caused by the coronavirus pandemic…agile software platforms help to connect uneven supply and demand amidst a rapidly evolving environment…trust and transparency are needed now more than ever,” he elaborated. The first pilot booking was successfully conducted to ship pharmaceutical cargo from Bengaluru, India to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. An instant itinerary via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Seoul, South Korea was confirmed in real-time with flights from three different carriers through a smart contract on blockchain.

A Use Case For The Ages

Due to the unavailability of direct flights from Bengaluru to Ulan Bator, the shipper had to manually inquire about the availability of connecting flights with multiple airlines and agents over phone calls and emails, a very tedious and time-consuming process. This new solution simplified the booking process and confirmed the itinerary 10 times faster for shippers by programmatically discovering the available routes with connecting flights within the shipper’s budget and passing on significant cost savings to shippers. For the airlines, the dynamic on-demand interlining of flights helped improve otherwise underutilized flights.

It’s Not Just AirAsia

Singapore-based Cargo Community Network (CCN) had also embarked on a similar solution earlier, so it does seem that South East Asian players are making their mark in this area. According to the IATA, air cargo transports over USD$ 6 trillion worth of goods, which hovers around 52 million metric tonnes of goods a year, accounting for approximately 35 percent of world trade by value. Over 68 million people have jobs supported by the aviation industry the world over. Did you know that 62,500 tonnes of humanitarian aid is delivered by air per year? For instance, over 120,000 tonnes of Kenyan flowers are flown all over the world each year, to sustain over 90,000 jobs.

The World Is Not Enough

The trivia just does not end. Did you know that one tennis ball is created by transporting materials from over 14 countries, over 50,000 miles? There are 3,200 airports and 60,000 trade lanes to negotiate in the world. When it comes to the fast-paced world of Formula 1, air cargo keeps it on track by flying 300 tonnes of equipment to over 20 countries in one season alone. It is estimated that the world freighter fleet will grow by 70 percent in the next 20 years to 3010 airplanes by 2040. These are simply staggering numbers. For example, in Vietnam, total exports in this sector increased from USD $400 million to USD $1.4 billion from 1996-2011. Vietnam’s success is due to its aviation hubs, connecting international airports with over 60,000 flights to over 65 destinations.

Sources: AirAsia, IATA.

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