IBM and PIL Pilot a Blockchain-Powered Platform to Track Orange Shipments

Food traceability is one of the most prominent issues of the market today. There is a special need for a solution that can help improve the current environment and provide true traceability and transparency.

Blockchain can help with that, as proven by the recent successful pilot project by Pacific International Lines (PIL) that collaborated with IBM to track orange shipments to China using blockchain for the Chinese new year. Pilot exercises like these can prove blockchain is a natural fit for the supply chain, especially to executives and investors who may be hesitant to become early adopters.

PIL and IBM reported lower operating costs for the transaction in terms of electricity and storage due to the increased speed of clearance, real-time visibility and therefore more accurate provenance information for the goods in question and a lowered risk of document fraud. The trial used an electronic bill of lading. The bill transferred through the various authorities instantaneously, reducing the “document processing times to almost zero.”

Hupco Pte Ltd (“Hupco”), a major importer in Singapore of mandarin oranges for the upcoming Lunar New Year, took part in the e-BL (electronic Bill of Lading) trial as the consignee of 3,000 cartons of mandarin oranges (approximately 108,000 mandarin oranges).

“By using the e-BL, we have seen how the entire shipment process can be simplified and made more transparent with considerable cost savings,” Mr. Tay Khiam Back, Chairman and CEO of Hupco, said in a statement.

PIL joined IBM’s TradeLens project in August. Maritime, Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs (National Trade Platform), and Bank of China Limited Singapore Branch (BOC) supported this collaboration between IBM and PIL.

This major drive by big players in the market is proof of confidence in the potential of blockchain technology to carry out such projects, supporting claims that blockchain can make a real impact on the state of food traceability in the near future.

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