Blockchain to Ease Logjams as Supply Chains Ditch Paper for Digital

Barcelona, November 30, 2021.- As reported by the economic news agency, Bloomberg, the Covid-19 pandemic is speeding up a technological transformation of global trade as supply chains play catchup in shifting from paper to digital transactions.

That’s an emerging industry view as the ongoing disruptions force manufacturers, ship operators and importers to accelerate their investments in technology to smooth out kinks, reduce delays and ultimately cut costs.

Among those on the front lines: Bertrand Chen, the chief executive of Hong Kong-based Global Shipping Business Network, a nonprofit technology consortium set up to simplify the business of trade through the use of blockchain. Its backers include some of the world’s biggest shipping lines and terminal operators.

Chen, who has a background in finance, said GSBN’s technology can facilitate the secure sharing of data that’s needed to settle trade.

For example, the company’s product — Cargo Release — is said to have cut the process of physical exchanges of documentation at Shanghai port to less than two hours instead of as many as three days by stripping out the process of queues and in-person interaction.

“There’s no more people going to a shipping line counter to present documents,” Chen said in an interview. He says the pandemic disruption will force through change in the industry.

“You will have more digitization and more people adapting to technology,” he said. “What people haven’t been able to do for the last 20-30 years suddenly will happen due to Covid.”

The Asia Development Bank last month warned that the global trade finance gaprose 15% to $1.7 trillion in 2020 and say solutions include global standards and legislation for the digitalization of trade’s eco-system which would generate data, increase transparency, improve interoperability and ultimately boost access to trade finance.

Meanwhile, a report this month from HSBC economists titled “Smart Supply Chains” said manufacturers are going to deploy “internet of things” technology to, among other things, track inventory in real time and monitor equipment so they know when a machine is likely to go down.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance for businesses to embrace digital solutions more than ever before,” according to the HSBC report.

  • Metals talks | The U.S. is beginning talks with Japan over global steel and aluminum excess capacity that will also address Washington’s tariffs on exports of the products from the Asian nation, President Joe Biden’s commerce and trade chiefs said.
  • War of words | France’s top European Union official took a thinly veiled swipe at EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s “naive” and “narrow-minded” stance in a clash over how to tackle a dearth in semiconductor supplies.
  • Fanning inflation | Almost 60% of U.K. companies are planning to raise their prices to recover rising supply-chain costs and wages, according to a closely watched business survey.
  • Cheers for fears | Shipping disruptions and the threat of shortages mean some consumers finished shopping before the holiday season even began. At the Port of Savannah, containers stacked up like colorful children’s blocks are forcing officials to look for more places to store them.
  • Drone down | Amazon has shifted staff working on its Paris-based drone research and development center to new projects, marking another set-back in the company’s delivery project.
  •  Know when to fold ‘em | Few tools of the global economy have survived without major innovations as long as the shipping container. Now the world’s supply strains offer an opportunity to test that incumbency with a new design: boxes that fold up to about one-fifth their normal size.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s