Accenture Tests Blockchain Solution to Streamline Logistics and Shipment Processes

Accenture Aims To Optimize Logistics & Shipping With Blockchain

Accenture, along with a few other large organizations, have completed the final phase of testing for a blockchain-based solution designed to eliminate the dependence on printed shipping documents. According to Finextra, this solution could potentially save the freight and logistics industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The consortium involved in this project includes Accenture, APL, Kuehne + Nagel, AB InBev, and a European customs organization. Reportedly, the consortium has successfully trialed the blockchain solution and the results seem to have been quite positive.

The End of Paper-based Documents As We Know It

With the new blockchain-powered solution, documents no longer need to be printed, or even exchanged physically or digitally. That’s because the platform uses a blockchain to distribute the relevant data and verifies the ownership according to the type of information. Moreover, after carefully examining the existing documentation processes, the group used a distributed ledger to re-define document ownership, accountability, and risk. According to the consortium, this type of implementation has made these processes more secure.

It seems that this blockchain-enabled solution has the potential to make many traditional industry transactions more efficient. For example, an international transaction in industry sectors like the automotive, retail or consumer goods normally requires more than 20 different documents, many of which are often paper-based. This paperwork typically covers the policies that need to be followed so that goods can be shipped and transferred from exporter to importer. With this new blockchain solution, the whole process can reportedly be done in a much more efficient manner.

A Much More Efficient Approach

The proposed solution can, according to the consortium, streamline the entire flow of documents related to the transportation of goods. This can be achieved by cutting down on inefficient data entry by as much as 80 percent. It can also simplify the process of updating information related to the shipping process, and speed up verification required for cargo, while helping customers avoid penalties in cases of non-compliance with customs policies.

Accenture’s Freight & Logistics CEO, Adriana Diener-Veinott, told Finextra:

“Our trials have proven the viability of a shipping process in which many documents can be replaced by secure and distributed data sharing with clear and defined ownership. This gives companies a significant opportunity to save time and money while improving their service to customers.”

Testing the Blockchain

The consortium cooperated to test 12 real shipments, sent to different destinations, each with its own regulatory framework and consequently with different requirements. The trials showed that blockchain technology is perfectly capable of reducing the total operating costs as well as increasing supply chain visibility.

All the companies involved in the testing phase had a specific role within the whole process. Accenture provided consultation regarding blockchain, AB InBev collaborated as a typical exporter, and APL contributed  by assuming the role of a shipping organization. As for Kuehne and Nagel, the two companies took the role of a freight forwarder while the European customs organization played its part by requiring all the mandatory regulation required for cargo shipment.

The head of Strategic Liner Management at APL, Eddie Ng stated:

“As a facilitator of global trade and strong advocate of innovation, APL sees much potential in blockchain technology to accelerate the digital transformation of the container shipping industry, moving us from traditional paper-based transactions to more efficient, more secure and faster processes along the entire supply chain. We are therefore happy to be part of the exciting journey to explore how disruptive technology like blockchain can benefit our industry, and ultimately our shippers and their customers.”

Notably, blockchain already proven to be an amazing technology that has the potential to disrupt the traditional industry models. With this new blockchain solution, the goods transportation industry could reduce its operating costs and streamline the whole operation.