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Blockchain is the newest buzzword in the tech lexicon. But its application is still confusing for many. Here we will explain blockchain technology and how it is being used in the transport industry

Many people associate the term with bitcoins or crypto currencies. Blockchain uses cryptography to provide a decentralised digital ledger or data base of every transaction that takes place among pre-approved users in the network. The technology can work in any kind of transaction, including money, property or goods. It eliminates the need for a third party in any transaction and promotes peer to peer exchange.

Currently, only a very small proportion of global GDP (around 0.025%, or $20 billion) is held in the blockchain, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. But the technology is disruptive and will bring about changes in many industries, including finance, legal, health, transport and the public sector.

With the global economic geography shrinking, consumers want quick and seamless delivery of goods and services. The transportation industry is facing a crisis of innovation. Any small or large technical improvement means cost- effective seamless and secure delivery. Most transport and commercial vehicles and trucking services invest in the latest tracking and security technology. But there is always margin for improvement and scalability, especially in the authentication department.

A study by TMW says that transportation companies and the commercial vehicles industry need authenticated secure data to consistently improve their operations. Companies need constantly updated data from the various suppliers and users to execute quick operations, which in turn means all the data coming through has to be secure and authentic. Blockchain’s biggest advantage is it is hack proof as all the data is interconnected and layered, making it almost impossible to be breached

Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) is actively promoting blockchain to solve some of the most intransigent problems in trucking.

When ferrying perishable goods or food, maintaining a certain temperature is required and the blockchain technology comes in handy to ensure a smooth food supply chain. Industries dealing in perishables have invested heavily in blockchains. IBM is offering a tech solution “designed to bring the requisite efficiency, transparency and authenticity to food supply chains around the world,” in partnership with the concerned sectors.

By marrying internet of things and blockchain technology, freight and commercial carriers can detect cargo volumes through sensors and calculate costs and transmit the same to blockchains, which in turn can be used to authenticate payment transactions based on the price determined.

Blockchain data can help determine the fleet efficiency of used vehicles, which is useful information for commercial vehicle operators. The same technology can even determine the track record of the operator and drivers of the vehicles, ensuring safety metrics

Another concern with transport carriers and truckers is load board because data can be unreliable and duplicated. Blockchains can eliminate duplication, and authenticate and time stamp all loads.

The key advantages of blockchain in the commercial vehicle industry are transparency in processes, prices and data authentication.

This article was written by the NUS community. If you would like to contribute your article, please get in touch.