Two of China’s biggest giants in their respective industries have teamed up to digitize the logistic and shipping network of the country. Ant Group, the fintech affiliate of the leading Chinese e-commerce Alibaba, have recently partnered with COSCO – the biggest Chinese shipping company – to revolutionize global trade by introducing blockchain into the shipping industry.
This move is expected to create a more efficient, transparent and resilient supply chain logistics. Alibaba along with Alipay, its mobile payment associate, globally holds the largest number of patents for blockchain, although China as a country is significantly lagging in blockchain novelty.
United States of America (USA) and South Korea are still leading in this department. In fact, USA holds around double of China’s patents in blockchain innovation.
However, this move of bringing in blockchain into maritime transport makes China the pioneer, of integrating the latest technology into world’s largest trade support system.
The maritime supply chain is a complex process. Blockchain can integrate the logistics chain while overcoming the hurdles from different shipping regulators such as port authorities and custom agencies.
Ant Group’s exclusive blockchain technology, known as Ant Blockchain, expects to see how blockchain can streamline this information flow within the supply chain.
Logistics certificates, container records and other important shipping information can be shared in real-time among everyone involved within the supply chain, from harbor authorities to maritime transport company.
Ant Group aims to explore the security of data and information flow while also maintaining transparency with the help of its proprietary technology. According to Ant Group, Ant Blockchain aims to “significantly improve transparency while reducing cost”.
In simple terms, Ant Blockchain expects to facilitate and condense the complex logistics that is the maritime supply chain. And, for this, it is capitalizing on COSCO, which is the third biggest global shipping company.
All business ecosystems require effective information exchange between parties involved. For an industry as complicated and interconnected as maritime transportation involved in global trading, maintaining the proper flow of correct and real-time information is essential but proves difficult.
Blockchain solves this by streamlining all the scattered data such as origin country of a shipping consignment, arrival harbor and custom requirement and clearance report.
Trans-border e-commerce companies such as Alibaba itself especially will benefit largely if blockchain is successfully implemented into the shipping industry. Even end-users will be able to track their shipment without any hassle through simple mobile applications.
The most important aspect is the security, reduced cost and the transparency offered by blockchain. Indeed, this technology is the future and every industry will sooner or later have to integrate it into their system.
For the time being it is to be seen how blockchain streamlines an industry that is the main support system of around 90% of businesses worldwide.
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