FedEx to use blockchain to improve logistics
Distributed ledger technology benefits from common definitions and standards built into the supply chain.
American multinational courier delivery service FedEx has revealed plans to integrate blockchain technology, joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) to develop industry standards for transportation companies.
During an interview with shipping news publication FreightWaves earlier this week, FedEx Freight vice president of strategic planning & analysis Dale Chrystie and FedEx Services senior vice president of IT Kevin Humphries said the company has an extensive history of innovation in the logistics space.
“One of our focuses has been to find innovative ways to provide the kind of visibility that our customers need to get all the information up and down the supply chain. Blockchain is opening the door by giving customers even more visibility to their package before it gets in our hands and after it leaves our hands,” Humphries said.
“We have millions of records a day in our system, and we think of blockchain as a secure chain of custody that could transform the logistics industry. We believe it holds a lot of promise in that space and would streamline all that data exchange in a very secure way,” Chrystie added.
Distributed ledger technology benefits from having common definitions and a set of standards built into the supply chain that is applicable from origin to destination. FedEx is confident that it can create many use cases.
One area that’s ripe for blockchain innovation, according to Chrystie, could be dispute resolution. FedEx has customers and partners, both upstream and downstream, attempting to communicate in a common language.
“We are trying to determine if that data is common and in some cases, we as carriers, don’t necessarily have all the data that we would like to have,” he said. “And if we could agree on these elements and standards, we think we can drive a lot of efficiency in the process, and that’s just one example.”
Humphries noted that FedEx is developing a number of pilot programs to test out the burgeoning technology. These pilots assist the company to examine blockchain use across various platforms and determine scalability.
In October last year, tech giant IBM joined forced with blockchain startup Stellar Lumens and payments company KlickEx Group to enable high-speed cross-border payments for banks and other financial institutions.
IBM’s solution is already active, processing live transactions across 12 different currency corridors between the Pacific Islands and Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with the goal of expanding capabilities. For example, IBM said that in the future, its service could make it possible for a farmer in Samoa to enter into a trade contract with a buyer in Indonesia, while covering all aspects of their transaction, not just the payment.
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