Kuehne + Nagel VGM Portal to Use Blockchain for Shipping Weight Verification

Kuehne + Nagel Deploys Blockchain Technology to Track Shipping Weights

A prominent shipping company has today outlined their intentions to use blockchain technology as a part of their operations. After it became apparent that incorrectly weighed cargo was contributing to a significant number of shipping accidents, the International Maritime Organization established a verified gross mass (VGM) requirement under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS). Now, Kuehne + Nagel has announced that they will integrate blockchain technology into their VGM portal which process at least 800,000 transactions on a monthly basis.

As a result of the integration of blockchain tech, it will be considerably easier to share the weight verification requirements with concerned parties such as the shipper, the ocean carrier and the marine terminal. According to Martin Kolbe, the Chief Information Officer at Kuehne + Nagel, blockchain technology has enormous potential with regard to the logistics sector, but real-world applications are presently scarce. Martin added that their blockchain-powered VGM portal was designed by their own IT and sea freight professionals and enables them to carry out a high volume of transacts in a seamless and efficient manner.

However, the shipping giant is yet to elaborate on the technical implementation details of the blockchain solution. Seemingly, notable changes are only accessible from the solution’s backend, as the front end maintains its standard interface characterized by typical forms. Nonetheless, given that immutability is a fundamental requirement for such solutions, this portal may be a public blockchain, probably built on the Bitcoin network. Apparently, documents undergo hashing to prevent unnoticed alterations.

Typically, digital stamping of documents on the Bitcoin network is expensive as compared to other blockchains. This is because Bitcoin’s on-chain capacity has significant limitations. On the other hand, the same process is a bit cheaper on the Ethereum blockchain because the network continuously works on improving its on-chain capacity.

Additionally, Kolbe said that the running of the VGM portal in a high volume operational environment equips the team with skills necessary for the development of blockchain applications. Contrariwise, Kolbe also said that all information submitted through the portal is stored on-chain, a factor that hints that the blockchain is private, since this would be extremely expensive for a public blockchain.

In public blockchains, developers might integrate a decentralized storage mechanism by using the inter-planetary file system (IPFS). The storage is then linked to the blockchain which contains only the vital information, such as the hashing algorithms.

All that said, it is evident that the efforts put in by developers are coming into fruition as blockchain technology has real-world use cases.

One Twitter replied to their tweet to see if the would be using VeChain, but it appears they will be using their own in-house blockchain solution.

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