Blockchain could have solved Dutch egg supply chain worries – Information Age

As many as 15 European countries have been affected by the Dutch egg contamination, as well as others around the world. The Food Standard Authority (FSA)’s investigation is currently working hard to remove all contaminated products from UK supermarkets. Initially thought to have affected 21,000 eggs, this figure has now ballooned to over 700,000.

The grocery supply chain is broad and complex, characterised by many players frequently holding potentially inefficient, manual records. As a result, it is often extremely difficult to map the paths of goods, and supermarkets have a hard task on their hands to unearth the foods and products that are tainted from the infected Dutch eggs.

However, blockchain could provide the solution for future scenarios. It is already being used by food suppliers and retailers to prove authenticity and increase consumers’ trust in their brand. But it can also be used to provide complete transparency across a product’s end-to-end supply chain journey. Not only will this help prevent the spread of contaminated goods, but it can also cut down food fraud which is estimated to be worth $40 billion.

More at: Blockchain could have solved Dutch egg supply chain worries – Information Age

Amazon vs Maersk: The clash of titans shaking the container industry – Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Approximately 90% of the world’s trade travels by sea and one would expect the industry’s supply chain to be the height of modernity by adopting disruptive technology and strategies. However, this could not be further from the truth. While online trading platforms are under development, the traditionalism of the industry prevails with various parties involved in each voyage, typically communicating via trade managers.

In this archaic set-up, someone with enough muscle and innovative ideas could be like a tsunami, rolling through and disrupting the traditional container shipping movement.

Enter Amazon. This biggest online retailer in the world is no longer just that. Amazon obtained the title of a non-vessel operating common carrier in early 2016 for cargo shipments between China and the US. This cemented their role as a complete logistics company and freight forwarder as they already are in aviation, trucking and manufacturing — the complete supply chain.

Manufacturing is new step for Amazon and they won a patent earlier this year to develop a system to rapidly create clothing and other products after a customer order is placed. This forms a cheap and simple method for Chinese exporters as Amazon have effectively wiped out the middle man, acting as a shipbroker for itself and on behalf of smaller companies.

These developments would allow Amazon to have complete control over certain areas of their own supply chain. With Amazon taking away a chunk of the market on which container companies thrived, shipping companies should be wary of Amazon’s continued expansion across the supply chain.

Of course, the container industry has its own major players, who may not stand idly by while Amazon rips up the rule book.
Container giant AP Moller Maersk is leading the way for other container players on how to stay afloat in the storms buffeting the logistics chain.
The container market has been hit hard by financial woes over the last decade and is crying out for cost-cutting schemes. In response, Maersk is in the process of developing a blockchain initiative in partnership with IBM. This will be the equivalent of unclogging a smoker’s arteries as information will flow smoothly, unhampered by the convoluted paper trail previously involved in a single voyage.

More at: Amazon vs Maersk: The clash of titans shaking the container industry – Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Singaporean Shipping Giants Partner IBM for Blockchain Trial – Cryptocoins News

Two major Singaporean maritime companies have inked a deal with technology giant IBM to explore and trial blockchain technology for supply chain networks.

Singaporean shipping giant Pacific International Lines (PIL), one of Asia’s largest shipowners, and the Port Authority of Singapore (PSA), one of the world’s largest port operators, have entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) are jumping on the blockchain bandwagon with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IBM Singapore.

The three parties will unite to work on proof-of-concept blockchain solutions to enhance the security, transparency and efficiency of the supply chain network in south eastern Asia.

Singapore is among the world’s largest hubs for trade and travelers whilst commonly seen as the gateway to Asia from the west. Any implementation of blockchain technology for regional supply chain operations and trade finance will prove to be a significant endorsement of the decentralized innovation most prominently known as the core technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

More at: Singaporean Shipping Giants Partner IBM for Blockchain Trial – Cryptocoins News

Expelling Digital Demons from U.S. Sensitive Supply Chains – The Cipher Brief

If the U.S. Department of Defense were an economy unto itself, it would be the 20th largest in the world. Like any other advanced modern economy, it is deeply integrated with the entire globe, its supply chains often stretching into countries with whom the United States has adversarial relations.

The open manner with which U.S. national security enterprises bid for goods and services can be exploited by U.S. adversaries seeking to inject counterfeit or malicious components into sensitive electronic hardware. The unprecedented challenge of policing the vast and complex supply chains for such hardware will require radical innovation in technology and governance to ensure that the rules-based system of international trade that the U.S. has long championed is not degraded into a chaotic arena of unrestricted economic warfare.

. . .

The complexity and scale of the transactions that comprise U.S. sensitive supply chains create a kind of informational fog in which adversaries can hide. However, if the information associated with each such transaction can be projected onto a timely and granular digital dataspace, the U.S. can harness the power of modern machine learning methods to identify suspicious activities within its supply chains at scale. Although there are many technologies with which this dataspace can be constructed, we believe the blockchain has, even in its nascence, demonstrated that it has the economy, security, and power that make it the ideal technology for this purpose.

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Port of call: Enlisting blockchain’s help in container movements — FreightWaves

Tracking and visibility will speed process for truckers hauling into and out of ports

Final mile logistics can be a pain. Picture a 40-foot container traveling from Mainland China to a suburb of Los Angeles. It often experiences more complications between the Port of LA and final destination than it does during its international trip. But why?

A variety of factors contribute to headaches of the final mile. Culprits that immediately come to mind include equipment availability, congestion, communication, and documentation. While still on the horizon, blockchain may help alleviate some of those final mile difficulties.

Concept or reality?

Blockchain will revolutionize global supply chains across the board. In concept, it could apply to every conceivable aspect of logistics from transactions to tracking to asset management. In theory, this technology can further secure and streamline every step of the supply chain. However, its full-scale application still remains to be seen. Many people are familiar with Bitcoin. Fewer have heard of blockchain. Some professionals know about the benefits of blockchain, however the ledger remains an enigma to most.

More at: Port of call: Enlisting blockchain’s help in container movements — FreightWaves

Blockchain technology – the hype and the hope – Oil & Gas Financial Journal

Technology has the potential to transform business transactions

IMAGINE A CRUDE OIL producer selling its production directly to a refiner without any intermediaries and never knowing who the buyer is. Imagine the most common method of executing commodity derivative agreements is without a bank, exchange, or broker. Imagine a power plant purchasing natural gas without engaging a wholesale gas marketing company. The power plant simply purchases directly from the natural gas producer, but they never know from whom or where it is coming. Imagine the non-existence of wholesale and retail commodity marketing companies.

Imagine a power producer selling power directly to a consumer without an independent system operator, retail marketer, or utility. Imagine a midstream company managing multiple interstate pipeline interests without teams of schedulers. All of the scheduling is handled by a highly streamlined, ultra-efficient system where transactions are recorded on a single, trusted ledger that is shared with all parties to the transaction and which provides real time information and contingencies.

All of these transactions would be recorded as soon as the product changes hands. All of these transactions would be governed by self-enforcing smart contracts providing certainty of funding with automatic payment upon the collection of the appropriate sequence of approvals. No need for intermediaries. No need for Letters of Credit. No delays while documentation is physically transferred and reviewed by multiple parties.

More at: Blockchain technology – the hype and the hope – Oil & Gas Financial Journal

What’s in my food? DNA sequencing, blockchain provide closer look – San Francisco Chronicle

In the sample preparation room of Menlo Park startup Clear Labs, research associate Abhishek Hegde carefully injects a series of tiny test tubes with fluid. Each tube contains a different food sample — and the transparent solution extracts DNA from the sample so it can be sequenced and analyzed.

Looking at food at the molecular level helps Clear Labs answer questions that plague retailers, manufacturers and consumers: Was the most recent batch of beef contaminated with E. coli? Is this soy burger patty actually vegan? Is that “GMO-free” sticker accurate?

 . . .Another option that will be available to grocers in the coming years is blockchain, a distributed digital ledger shared among a network of computers. With this technology, every time a food product moves through the supply chain, it is recorded, creating an immutable digital record of where the food has been. (Blockchain technology was first developed to track the movement of digital bitcoins.)

As tools like DNA sequencing and blockchain technology become faster, the lag time between observing an outbreak of food-borne disease and pinpointing its source — which currently can take weeks — could shrink dramatically. Following an announcement in October, Walmart and IBM began a collaborating on a blockchain system to track pork in China and sliced mango in the U.S.

In a demonstration last month, Yiannas of Walmart was able to trace a pack of sliced mango to a particular farm and packaging date in just 2.2 seconds. The same task would have taken the company a week without a blockchain. Walmart is reaching out to other food companies and retailers, and plans to test blockchain technology on multi-ingredient foods later this year.

More at: What’s in my food? DNA sequencing, blockchain provide closer look – San Francisco Chronicle