dnata incorporates blockchain into cargo operations
dnata’s cargo operations, in conjunction with Emirates Innovation Lab, IBM, and flydubai Cargo, has created a new value proposition for cargo service delivery through the use of blockchain technology. This has added value by eliminating redundant data and improved visibility and transparency for all stakeholders. As a result, processes can been more streamlined and simplified right from the origin to the final destination.
Kevin Ennis, vice president commercial and business development for dnata’s UAE cargo operations, said: “dnata has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the success of our study to use blockchain technology in our operations means greater security, efficiency, and cost savings to our customers. We are on the cusp of revolutionising the way we operate, and the success of this initiative with our partners will give the industry a real boost towards seamless service delivery.”
Blockchain technology is a secure, public electronic ledger and peer-to-peer network, that can be managed autonomously to exchange information between different parties.
In cargo, for example, much of the processes is traditionally paper based, which requires multiple sign-offs by inspectors and receivers before goods can be delivered. Even when the system is electronic, it still requires multiple parties to sign off on cargo shipments, creating a lengthy administrative process. To try and streamline this process, blockchain technology can be used to manage and track the paper trail of cargo containers by digitising the supply chain. In such a scenario, what makes blockchain infallible is that, no one party can modify, delete or even edit any one of the blocks without the consensus from others on the network.
flydubai Cargo and dnata, in collaboration with Emirates Innovation Lab and IBM jointly developed a logistics platform in which blockchain infrastructure was implemented for supply chain transactions from a purchase order from the origin to delivery to the Consignee warehouse at its destination. Through PoC (Proof of Concept), flydubai Cargo, Emirates Innovation Lab, and dnata were able to identify issues from various perspectives such as technology, security, operation, legal perspectives, and were able to realise new supply chain services including digitalisation of documents.
Neetan Chopra, senior vice president – IT strategic services, Emirates Group, said: “Blockchain technology has great potential to exponentially improve efficiency and transparency of business networks, especially in cargo and logistics flows. However neither the technology nor the potential is easy to understand or appreciate. Hence it is imperative to carry out such business experiments and trials so that participants can experience the benefits of breakthrough technologies in a live environment.
“I am delighted with the success of this trial. The innovation lab will now work with our partners and stakeholders to prepare the scale out plan of this innovation to the larger cargo ecosystem.”
The blockchain technology for dnata’s cargo operations is a very secure way to share information between parties. It creates a permanent, digital public ledger of transactions which can be shared amongst a distributed network of computers. The sharing possibilities of this technology create endless opportunities for logistics/supply chain applications. These include improvements of transparency and data sharing across the supply chain, better tracking of orders, reducing errors and better fraud detection.
Commenting on the collaboration, Mohamed Hassan, vice president of flydubai Cargo said: “Blockchain technology is able to transform sectors far beyond financial services. It improves the way we work together in providing reliable and convenient airfreight as it provides end-to-end services. As a result of this collaboration, flydubai Cargo has become the first airline to complete a proof of concept (PoC) using blockchain technology in airfreight transportation. We would like to thank all the stakeholders involved who have contributed to this milestone, and we look forward to the benefits that this technology will bring to the industry.”
Amr Refaat, general manager, IBM Middle East & Pakistan, said: “Blockchain technology is bringing a whole new meaning to the cargo and logistics industry’s value chain. Whether it involves raw materials, manufacturing, or distribution to retailers and customers, the technology is smarter, faster, and is creating a new trust-based digital economy that allows all members of the ecosystem to join new business networks based on accountability and transparency to conduct transactions.”
Check out our feature on blockchain technology in our November 2017 issue, with participants from IBM, Avaya International, Gartner, and Gemalto.