Holt Logistics Joins Blockchain Initiative


By The Maritime Executive 04-19-2018 07:10:13

Holt Logistics has become the first independent port operator in the north-eastern U.S. to conduct a pilot based on the blockchain application developed by Maersk and IBM. 

The system is designed to provide transparency and promote the sharing of logistics information to reduce costs and speed the delivery of goods shipped around the world. It can reduce the need for multiple records that currently are produced at each point in the shipping chain and is expected to save as much as 20 percent of the cost of shipping transactions when the system is fully developed.

Holt Logistics and its affiliated company, Greenwich Terminals, operate the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal in South Philadelphia.

"The investment in the blockchain platform, albeit different from recent hard asset investments like the crane purchases and facility enhancements, is another investment in the future of the Port of Philadelphia, designed to reduce costs and significantly improve the Port's ability to add value to the customer," said Thomas J. Holt III, Business Development Manager for Holt Logistics. "Our industry generates enormous amounts of paper work and data. We believe that blockchain technology will increase both information velocity and validity throughout the supply chain, unlocking billions of dollars in value for stakeholders each year."

In February, Agility became the first freight forwarder to collaborate on Maersk and IBM's blockchain system. Additionally, Pacific International Lines, along with PSA International and IBM Singapore, tested a blockchain platform tracking cargo from Chongqing in China to Singapore via the Southern Transport Corridor, a key route being developed as part of China's Belt and Road initiative.

Maersk and IBM announced their intent to establish a joint venture to offer blockchain technology in January this year. The companies will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet of things and analytics, delivered via IBM Services. The platform is built on IBM Blockchain technology, which is provided through the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.

Multiple parties have piloted the platform including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port of Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Documentation and administration are estimated to be one-fifth of the $1.8 trillion spent annually to move goods across borders. According to The World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15 percent.