Away from its much-publicized usage as the basis for cryptocurrencies, which has generated the bulk of its coverage in European public discourse, blockchain technology is increasingly becoming an influential part of supply chain processes across the EU. An article from the EU’s official news website published on November 12, 2018, examines the impact of Blockchain technology as a disruptive influence in Transport following its rapidly growing corporate adoption.
Blockchain’s Trail of Disruption Reaches Transport
Referencing a McKinsey report released in 2017, the article outlines the skyrocketing number of use cases for blockchain technology in healthcare, transport, finance and real estate among other industries, stating that it has the potential to become one of the most disruptive technologies in recent history, with a projected disruptive commercial impact put between $80 billion and $100 billion by the year 2021.
To underline the massive potential for disruption created by the blockchain, it is also noted that about 80 percent of banks around the world are currently developing or have already developed comprehensive blockchain data strategies. Transport appears to be the next major industry primed for a massive blockchain takeover, with the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) currently boasting more than 500 members across 25 countries, cumulatively controlling about 85 percent of the world’s total road freight transactions worth about $1 trillion annually.
From an insider point of view, the benefits offered to Transport by blockchain technology are immensely attractive. The benefits include a reduction in paperwork, which represents a substantial reduction of risk of document loss or misfiling, in addition to a positive impact on the environment due to reduced logging for the paper. Blockchain technology also helps logistics firms improve their transaction tracking, audits, performance history reviews, and real-time freight capacity tracking.
Also, transport businesses using blockchain solutions have an enhanced capacity to issue and pay invoices in addition to exponentially increased security levels and fraud detection capabilities. Finally and most significantly, the decentralized framework used by blockchain systems improves the accountability and transparency of businesses, appealing to consumers who may previously have had reservations with traditional centralized systems.
Consolidations and Academic Preparations
The rise in blockchain adoption in the European Transport sector has been accompanied by a surge in the number of consortiums and networks in the Transport ecosystem who are building and operating distributed ledger frameworks to serve their members. The aims of these consortiums generally revolve around improving technology and security capacity and improving the efficiency of existing supply chain processes to save money.
The world of academia has also got involved in the ongoing Transport blockchain boom, with many institutions including NYU, Cornell University and the prestigious Oxford University Saïd Business School offering courses related to engaging with blockchain technology. Last year, the Saïd Business School’s business studies department began offering a remote a six-week digital blockchain strategy program aimed at preparing transport executives and other business leaders for the impending reality of blockchain adoption across most high profile industries.
Speaking about the aim of the blockchain strategy programme, Nir Vulkan, Associate Professor of Business Economics and Co-convenor of the Oxford Saïd Blockchain Strategy Programme said:
“Blockchain has the potential not only to change how we transfer value but could shift our systems of trade, identity, efficiency and governance across all sectors, radically transforming traditional approaches to management. What participants will understand from our course is what is on the horizon for their business and how to prepare for that.”