Saudi Arabia: The First Blockchain Tracked Cargo Shipped to Rotterdam


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Hellenic Shipping News reported May 20, 2019 that Saudi Customs successfully departed the first shipment that is powered by blockchain technology. It is headed to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Other Ports of Saudi Arabia May Soon See a Blockchain System

For the very first time in 2018, a container was processed over the blockchain technology by CargoX, an independent supplier of blockchain-based Smart Bill of Lading (Smart B/L™). In the same year, Maersk and IBM partnered together to form TradeLens, a blockchain-based shipping solution for more efficient, transparent, and secure global trade.

On May 20, 2019, Saudi Customs reported having successfully shipped their first blockchain-tracked shipment. All the shipment details and documents were handled through Fasah, Saudi Arabia’s exclusive shipment tracking portal built for the secure and rapid exchange of electronic data between all parties involved in a trade.

The cargo departed from Dammam Port in Saudi Arabia to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The pilot test for the integration of TradeLens and Saudi Customs to enable blockchain-based supply chain management was conducted in February this year. RTT News reported in January that the Riyadh-based IT firm Tabadul integrated Fasah with TradeLens to execute the process.

Ahmed Al-Hakbani, the governor of Saudi Customs, said that this futuristic step would establish Saudi Arabia as “one of the world’s premier logistics hub.” He also hinted towards the organization’s plan to bring the blockchain system to other ports in the Kingdom. Citing that change, Al-Hackbani stated:

“We chose to embark on this tech journey knowing that change is uncomfortable, but it is inevitable to be a leading global player.”

Saudi Customs was among the 93 other organization that had allied with IBM’s TradeLens back in 2018 to test out the platform.

Blockchain in Shipping Industry

The “blockchain for the shipping industry” narrative boils down to logistics and supply chain management. The technology is widely known for its emphasis on the current supply chain management principles and processes.

It is not the first time the sector has heard of the blockchain adding transparency, security, and efficiency to the supply chain either.

However, the fact that it is now disrupting such a vast industry shows the potential of blockchain to replace traditional paperwork systems in global trades. This would enable the real-time assessment of shipment data by all parties, including exporters, importers, and the cargo owners through a single platform.

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