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Could Blockchain Benefit the Trucking Industry?

A recent report from TechCrunch asserts that the trucking industry could benefit from blockchain, but only if a few things happen first.

What is blockchain, and how would it work with the trucking industry?

Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that would facilitate the process of recording transactions and tracking assets, the report explained. It would work within what is now a fragmented industry to match shippers with carriers. The benefit to shippers would be a private and safe network in which they could find carriers to transport their goods. The benefit to truckers would be fewer long-haul trips with empty trucks or partial loads. The benefit for all would be streamlined operations that result in a reduction in costs.

What needs to happen to make this a reality?

With 90 percent of trucking companies in the US having six trucks or fewer, in order for blockchain to work in the trucking industry, all carriers must have access to the software and hardware, and the knowledge as to how to participate, the report states. In addition, there must be standardization in the data that each company supplies in order for the collaboration to work.

There must also be trust among parties in the system, according to the report. For example, shippers need to trust that the carrier who states that it has the required amount of insurance to legally transport the goods is telling the truth, and the carriers must rely on the shippers who hire them through the blockchain to actually pay them for their services. 

Is someone working on making it happen?

In short: Yes. A new consortium featuring companies from each aspect of the trucking supply chain as been formed. The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) has about 1,000 applicants, including such players as UPS, Salesforce, McCleod Software, FedEx, Polaris, and many more. 

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