Throughout the world today we see countless stories relating to trade agreements and transborder movement of goods, and perhaps nowhere in the world is this more topical than in the United Kingdom today. The matter of transporting goods smoothly and expeditiously across borders is crucial and no more so than when shipments involve ‘Just in Time’ goods or perishable items.
Leaving all political issues aside and concentrating on the logistics of transborder trade Chainlify believes Blockchain technology can simplify the whole process, removing a number of the current obstacles that can hinder the smooth movement of freight internationally. The most obvious problem is the holdup that occurs at the border when checks are carried out to ensure compliance. These checks can be lengthy as on Turkey’s border with the EU where vehicle waiting times can be 30 hours and this is with a Customs Union Agreement in place between the two parties.
Border checks include verification of licences, export documentation, checking of goods, driver permits, the list goes on… A solution to this problem is to have a verification system where goods vehicles are able to have all checks carried out at their point of departure prior to leaving the depot. Additionally, a simple on-board notification/verification (N/V) system similar to the ‘see and be seen’ anti-collision systems routinely installed on aircraft (including small private aircraft) would be able to ‘Green Light’ the compliant vehicle through border checkpoints.
At the point of loading/departure a blockchain based platform programmed with all the protocols required by the sender of goods, the carrier, regulatory requirements of transited countries, and the receiver of goods would record and store all data relevant to the shipment. This data would in real time be available simultaneously to the parties involved in the supply chain and to the extent required by the programmed protocols (the level of access decided and agreed upon a need/right to know basis).
Inbuilt to the Blockchain Platform would be a Checking program. This program would be aware of all the export/import requirements relating to the goods being exported including the requirements/documentation demanded by countries being transited enroute. Once all of the compliance requirements had been satisfied the system would invite the load to be locked down and sealed. Once these actions were completed and entered into the system the vehicle would be authorised to depart.
En route to the exit port the vehicle’s on-board N/V system would be remotely accessible by Police/HMRC vehicles which could interrogate the system to verify that the vehicle was compliant and would not cause a delay by being rejected at the border. The same interrogation system installed at participating foreign ports, would interrogate and ‘Green Light’ compliant vehicles straight through without the need for manual checks. Blockchain protocols would enable the unsealing and resealing of Vehicles that were subjected to random compliance checks at borders with the input of a security code.
Any vehicle arriving at a port of entry without a system compliance notification would be red lighted and directed to a holding area for manual checks to be carried out.
Due to the high level of security and integrity of Blockchain stored data all participating parties would be able to trust the information contained in the blockchain. Information relating to Tax/Duty would also be contained within the Blockchain and could be dealt with as a ‘back office’ process.
Operators wishing to participate in the system would be required to achieve required levels of expertise to attain accreditation. They would be subject to routine random checks as would vehicles participating in the system. An Accredited Operator’s continued ability to participate would be based upon sustaining their accreditation by maintaining high levels of competence and integrity to the satisfaction of relevant regulatory bodies.
Whilst the scenario described herein relates to road haulage it would also provide the same functions to air and sea freight.
The issue of moving freight smoothly across borders should in today’s world be straightforward. Chainlify’s blockchain based system would provide all the participating parties with the confidence of knowing that once a consignment had left the depot it was destined for a transit free of border check delays. The Blockchain Technology that can enable this is fairly complex, however, the rewards for getting it right will be felt around the world.