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Blockchain and Transportation: Digitization and Electronic Tracking Ledgers to Transform Trucking

By Dick Weisinger

Deloitte predicts that more than 10 percent of the global GDP will be tracked and stored with blockchain technology by 2025.

Kenneth Craig, vice president of McLeod Software, said that “blockchain has extensive promise for every industry. With it businesses can reinvent the very nature of commercial activity, remove intermediaries, and have much more fluid business processes that can be conducted in various ecosystems.”

Some ways in which Blockchain can be used in the trucking industry include:

Each truck shipment usually has a bill of lading or electronic manifest that is examined numerous times during shipping, for example, by the trucker, fleet managers, insurance companies, customs, banks and ports of entry. Blockchain could provide proof of delivery, and be used to verify payments and settlements.

The buying and selling of trucks can also be tracked. A blockchain distributed ledger could contain the complete history of each truck, with information like ownership, maintenance, driving and tire records. The complete vehicle history could make the buying and selling of trucks easier.

Ben Schill, vice president of Paper Transport, said that “I think the value (of blockchain) comes in eliminating the amount of effort and manpower that goes into reconciling events. It’s not going to speed up the delivery of a truck, but it will create significant improvements in the actual operation by eliminating all of the slop and backend support that goes into supporting and reconciling what happened.”

A potential barrier to blockchain implementation though is that the trucking industry still heavily uses paper documents. Arlen Stark, chief of staff for the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), said that “the industry has to have more digitization of the paper-based environment surrounding invoicing in order to start using blockchain, and to harness its actual value.”

Peter Covach, director of information technology for Paper Transport, said that “if we decide to stay status quo as an industry in 30 years we will be phased out. If we are not constantly re-evaluating new technology, there is no way we are going to stay in competition with the Ubers and Googles of the world.”

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