Has Blockchain Technology Found a Place in Transportation Management?
The hype around blockchain is subsiding, and in its potential benefit to the transportation management industry is taking a more serious and thoughtful look at how it could be leveraged to improve operations.
Today’s economy is digital, and what you do digitally with freight is sometimes more important than what you do with it operationally. In an analysis of our customers here at 3Gtms, we could found the average customer electronically touches an individual shipment 35 times from when the order is created through the time it’s delivered. Our larger customers have about 100 digital touches of that shipment via warehouse updates, trucking company updates and more. Companies need to know where their freight is while it’s in transit.
Enter blockchain. Its potential impact on tracking – especially for small, “mom and pop” truckload carriers – could be enormous. There more than a half-million small carriers that have six trucks or less; and there’s little consistency in visibility or tracking capabilities among them. Blockchain has significant potential to help solve this visibility problem by enabling carriers to share information and data with transportation management systems so everyone has a clear-eyed view into where the freight is and whether it will be delivered on time.
One of the biggest hurdles to achieving this is getting to critical mass. How do you get a half-million carriers on the same network? Perhaps it’s a government initiative that sets up a network, as this sector is a significant slice of the U.S. GDP and any improvements would have ripple effects throughout the economy. Another way may be the consolidation of a few smaller vendors of tracking apps, thereby getting everyone on the same page and using the same technology more quickly.
For more thoughtful predictions about the role of blockchain in transportation management and brokerage, view this engaging interview by Talking Logistics Adrian Gonzalez with 3Gtms’ JP Wiggins