One of the world’s largest air services providers, dnata, has introduced a new blockchain-based logistics platform for air cargo in Dubai. Developed in partnership with Emirates Innovation Lab, IBM, and flydubai Cargo, the solution is designed to streamline cargo service delivery processes, eliminating redundant data and ensuring transparency for all stakeholders.
During a proof-of-concept, the companies used blockchain for supply chain transactions, from the origin purchase order to delivery at the final destination. The pilot showed the technology can be used to solve issues from various perspectives such as technology, security, operation, and legal perspectives.
“dnata has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the success of our study to use blockchain technology in our operations means greater security, efficiency and cost savings to our customers,” said Kevin Ennis, Vice President of Commercial and Business Development for UAE Cargo Operations at dnata.
“We are on the cusp of revolutionising the way we operate, and the success of this initiative with our partners will give the industry a real boost towards seamless service delivery.”
According to dnata, blockchain provides endless opportunities for logistics chain applications, including better tracking of orders and transparent data sharing across the supply chain. Besides, the technology can reduce errors and enhance fraud detection.
Neetan Chopra, Senior Vice President of IT Strategic Services, Emirates Group, commented: “Blockchain technology has great potential to exponentially improve efficiency and transparency of business networks, especially in Cargo & Logistic flows. However neither the technology nor the potential is easy to understand or appreciate. Hence it is imperative to carry out such business experiments and trials so that participants can experience the benefits of breakthrough technologies in a live environment.”
“I am delighted with the success of this trial. The Innovation Lab will now work with our partners and stakeholders to prepare the scale out plan of this innovation to the larger cargo ecosystem,” he added.
To streamline the cargo delivery process, which still involves sign-offs by multiple parties, blockchain can be used to track the paper trail of cargo containers by digitizing the supply chain. With blockchain, nobody can change or delete any of the blocks without the network consensus.
“Blockchain technology is able to transform sectors far beyond financial services. It improves the way we work together in providing reliable and convenient airfreight as it provides end-to-end services,” said Vice President of flydubai Cargo, Mohamed Hassan, adding that they became the first airline to complete a proof-of-concept using blockchain in airfreight transportation.
According to Amr Refaat, general manager of IBM Middle East & Pakistan, the technology is bringing a completely new meaning to the logistics industry’s value chain.
“Whether it involves raw materials, manufacturing, or distribution to retailers and customers, the technology is smarter, faster, and is creating a new trust-based digital economy that allows all members of the ecosystem to join new business networks based on accountability and transparency to conduct transactions,” he noted.
For IBM, this project is just one of several other blockchain initiatives the company announced over the last few months. Recently, it announced plans help the Canadian government to track the distribution of marijuana with the use of the technology. Last month, the company teamed up with five banking giants to develop a new global trade platform based on the blockchain technology.