Smart shipping: blockchain in the future of maritime cargo handling?


A new pilot program with the Hong Kong-based CargoSmart firm’s digitized shipping operation reveals how blockchain can be useful in international waters.


Today Mohammad Musharraf at Cointelegraph reports on the use of this technology by partners including Tesla and other stakeholders aimed at getting goods across the oceans.

“The traditional documentation processes of the shipping industry are cost and time-intensive, which makes the whole industry less efficient. CargoSmart has been conducting research and development for its application to reduce consignee and shipment agent verification steps,” Musharraf writes. “The firm aims to digitize the documentation process and reduce the overall time for picking up cargo from shipping terminals and thus reduce delivery times.”

As for the effectiveness of this program, Musharraf reports that CargoSmart spokespeople have said the program “will undoubtedly accelerate the digitalization of shipping industry processes and the further optimization of currently stressed global supply chains.”

In this context, some experts are suggesting that blockchain is going to continue to be a central piece of optimizing modern supply chains.

“Data on ships in dock, cranes in the yard and individual containers can now be analyzed to find out about ship and shipment arrivals and so on,” wrote Lauren Horwitz at IOTWorldToday in January, highlighting related efficiencies. “As a result, operators are moving 25%–50% more containers per hour than any other of its competitors in northern Europe.”


Musharraf’s report reveals that last year, Tesla was already working on changing its cargo pickup process to rely more on these transparency tools to streamline operations. Now, new features will focus on displaying information such as laden gate out, appointment dates and terminal releases.


The international nature of these collaborations reflects the global nature of cargo shipping supply chains in general, with American and Chinese businesses prominent in developing these sorts of technologies. It’s something for smart investors to keep an eye on as shipping, and everything else, changes quickly.