Blockchain technology and the logistics industry in South Africa
By Murray LeClair - Mar 26th 2018, 08:38
Blockchain technology has been something of a tech buzzword of late, especially due to all of the publicity around Bitcoin in recent months. While cryptocurrencies are the best-known use of blockchain as far as most people are concerned, its uses outside of financial transactions haven’t failed to be noticed, and it is something that is now being leveraged heavily in the logistics industry.
Here are some of the possibilities blockchain presents outside of Bitcoin trading in South Africa:
Blockchain’s Main Benefit In Logistics: Improved Transparency
Where blockchain tech is used, it creates a decentralised register of transactions that cannot be tampered with. Effectively, every user of a register owns an up-to-date version of a log, which they can only modify with the agreement of the majority of the system. This creates a number of inherent benefits that lend themselves very well to logistics, because it makes every part of the process, as a product goes through from one end of a supply chain to another, transparent.
Transparency is important because logistics is becoming ever more complex, especially where companies are striving to find faster and more efficient ways to offer their wares to customers. When blockchain is used instead of centralised registers, it becomes very difficult to tamper with data, and in turn, data can present a fuller and more detailed history for any given shipment or item.
How Blockchain Can Help Tackle Theft
Cargo theft costs the industry an estimated $15-30 billion USD every year, and these estimates are considered to be conservative, given that many companies do not report all of their theft losses for fear of showing that they have weaknesses in their security, for example in the vetting of the people hired to work with their shipments and deliveries. These losses end up being passed on as costs to consumers, and a recent estimate suggested that the price hike could be as much as 20%.
One of the biggest theft issues currently facing the logistics industry is what is known as fictitious pick-ups, where a crew presents falsified documents at a dock to collect a shipment.
Blockchain technology can be used to make it much harder for thefts and losses to take place during supply chain processes. With more transparent records that are less prone to mistakes or tampering, it is far easier to verify that products are making their way into the right hands, and far more difficult for cargo to ‘disappear’ in transit.
Is Blockchain the Future of Logistics and Supply Chain Management in South Africa?
Many big-name businesses are already either using or considering blockchain for logistics and so it is safe to say that, with time, it will become the established way for these things to be managed and recorded. Of course, rolling out new supply chain workflow systems is not a small undertaking for national or global companies, and so the shift to this technology being the industry norm will not be overnight.
Blockchain is now about so much more than cryptocurrencies and is a technology that businesses will certainly be keeping a close eye on this year.
Beating the #BlackFriday delivery blues
20/11/2018 - 10:16
The biggest challenge on Black Friday isn’t a system crash or a payment failure. It’s the delivery problems that come after the purchases have been made. This year, courier companies are working closely with e-tailers to ensure that delivery expectations are met – but consumers can also play their part in getting their parcels as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Growing import demand contributes to expanding logistics and warehousing sector
16/11/2018 - 11:05
The inflow of imports, most consumer goods, is contributing to increasing demand for storage, logistics and warehousing services in South Africa, and a clear correlation is visible in the trend of wholesale and retail trade sales in comparison to imports.
Retail technology - changing buying and delivery methods
12/11/2018 - 11:31
The retail industry has undergone a massive transformation with the advent of technology. Beyond the rapid rise of online shopping, retailers are spying innovative ways to hang on to traditional shoppers while diversifying both their channels and their wares.
Carrefour adopts blockchain ledger technology to monitor food sources
10/10/2018 - 16:44
Europe’s largest retailer Carrefour has adopted blockchain ledger technology to track and trace chicken, eggs and tomatoes as they travel from farms to shops, and will deploy it across all of its fresh product lines in coming years.
The future of logistics depends on four key elements: customer-centricity, sustainability, technology and people
01/10/2018 - 09:32
DHL, the world’s leading international express services provider, showcased the key trends that could impact the logistics industry in the next five to ten years, at an event held in Sandton, Johannesburg on Thursday 20 September.