Start-up T-Mining has developed a blockchain solution which it hopes will make container handling in the Port of Antwerp more efficient and secure.
If successful, the technology will ensure that several parties across the port can benefit from digitalised processes with no middleman involved.
A pilot project is currently running in the port of Antwerp with a limited number of parties including PSA, MSC, a forwarder and a transporter.
The start-up also has an office in Singapore where it is also working to introduce a solution. It hopes to serve the first paying customers by the end of 2017.
Getting a container from point A to B usually involves more than 30 parties, with an average of 200 interactions between them, driving up cost and imposing security risks.
According to the port authority, given that many of these interactions are carried out by e-mail, phone and even (still, nowadays) by fax, paperwork accounts for up to half of the cost of container transport.
Nico Wauters, CEO of T-Mining said: “When a container arrives in the port it is collected from the terminal by a truck driver or shipper. To ensure that the right person picks up the right container a PIN code is used.
“However, the PIN code is transmitted via a number of parties, which of course is not without risk. Somebody with bad intentions can simply copy the PIN code, which naturally can cause great problems.”
The start-up’s solution involves removing the “trusted intermediary”, who does not work for free, and aims to give the right truck driver clearance to collect a particular container “without any possibility of the process being intercepted”.
“Our blockchain platform uses a distributed network, so that the transaction can go ahead only if there is consensus among all participating parties, thus excluding any attempts at fraud or undesired manipulations, added Wauters.