Connectivity is already taking hold of trucking, but blockchain is poised to take that connectivity to a whole new level.
The blockchain concept was originally designed to support the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, however it seems it can be applied to pretty much every industry on earth – including transportation.
But what is it exactly? It’s a public ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed anonymously. Put another way, it’s a shared record of events that cannot be altered once information has been entered.
One of the most exciting aspects of blockchain in trucking is the ability to conduct transactions through ‘smart contracts’. Essentially a coded contract between two parties that sets out if A should happen, then B will follow, these smart contracts address a number of challenges in the industry.
For example, payment can be made the moment a load is delivered. Equally, the time a vehicle enters a facility to be loaded or unloaded and the time it leaves can be automatically recorded, avoiding quibbles over waiting times and payment of detention charges, because payment is automatically applied.
Blockchain would allow different companies using different operating systems to link together and reduce inefficiency. However, it does have its drawbacks. The time it takes to get verifications in place needs to improve, and we should be realistic about achieving 100% accuracy in inputting information – that simply doesn’t happen in the real world.
For many in the industry, blockchain is the natural successor to electronic logging devices. It’s unlikely the technology will become mainstream in the industry for several years, but when it does, it could be universally adopted.
I can’t imagine many people getting excited about blockchain outside the tech industry right now. But if it is going to happen, I want to be ready.
What are your thoughts on blockchain? Is there too much hype?