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Haven’t heard of blockchain yet? You soon will

Editorial – April / May 2017

So you thought a blockchain was one of those annoying mechanical components on a bike that frequently break down or need fixing? Think again …

The annual Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation (CBAFF) conference is renowned for its international-calibre speakers that present on a very diverse range of topics affecting the industry. It’s also legendary for its networking opportunities, golf tournament and the evening festivities, but that’s another story.

This year’s conference promises more of the same. Titled ‘Megatrends Shaping the Industry’, it’s likely that delegates will come away buzzing with news on some of the hot topics of the logistics and freight forwarding world today – from self-orchestrating supply chain technologies and Trumponomics to big data and blockchain technology.

Hold on a second, what was that last thing? Haven’t heard of blockchain yet? You soon will. It’s just the latest in a very long list of technologies that are disrupting supply chain management – and like other such technologies, it seems to have come out of nowhere.

Put simply, blockchain is an online database shared among a distributed network of computers that maintains a continuously growing list of ordered records called blocks. Developed originally to monitor and secure Bitcoin, the digital currency, its ability to allow information to be shared securely between parties in a permanent, digital public ledger, safe from tampering, hacking or revision, means it’s a no-brainer as a means of managing transactions across a supply chain.

It’s already being trialled by logistics providers. In September last year, Marine Transport International announced the deployment of the world’s first public blockchain solution within its SolasVGM product, which enables verified gross mass (VGM) data of shipping containers to be recorded and stored securely.

Blockchain is big news, but it seems hardly anyone has heard of it in New Zealand – yet. You can read Nigel Parry’s highly informative article on blockchain in this edition of FTD – or attend the CBAFF conference in May to hear all about it.

Until next time …
Lynne Richardson, editor


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