Swiss Logistics Firm Panalpina Announces Supply Chain Blockchain Pilots

Swiss Logistics Firm Panalpina Announces Supply Chain Blockchain Pilots

June 13, 2019

Swiss logistics services company Panalpina is conducting blockchain pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits of the technology for supply chains.

Panalpina is a provider of forwarding and logistics services, specializing in intercontinental air and ocean freight and associated supply chain management. It operates a network of some 500 branches in more than 80 countries, in a further 80 countries, the group cooperates closely with selected partners. The company joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) in May.

In a press release, the company said that it has identified eight supply chain use cases for blockchain, including ocean freight core processes, ocean freight electronic bill of lading (eB/L), captives, perishables, pharmaceuticals, spare parts, insurance, and tracking. Of these eight use cases, Panalpina said that it is currently focusing on the ocean freight electronic bill of lading (eB/L) for its blockchain pilots.

According to the company, it has started two blockchain projects with selected customers – one dealing with high-tech industrial goods and the other dealing with office supplies. The objective of the projects is to digitize trade documents, such as the packing list and the bill of lading. These documents will be stored in a cloud, and use blockchain to realize process improvements and cost savings in the long run.

“In both projects, blockchains document the flow of imported goods from Asia to Europe, running in parallel to real shipments, but not interfering with current processes,” the company said. “Running the blockchain projects in parallel to live shipments allows Panalpina and its partners to make in-depth comparisons of current standards and processes, versus what they could be in the near future.”

Panalpina also said that it has partnered with an IT multinational company on a third blockchain pilot aimed at optimizing air freight shipments from North to South America. In the next phase, the company plans to focus on three other use cases – pharmaceuticals, spare parts and ocean freight core processes.

“These early-stage projects are 85 percent about digitization and 15 percent about blockchain – we are starting to see clear benefits in cost savings through simplified and speedier processes, and lower document courier costs,” said Cedric Rutishauser, senior venture development manager at the Panalpina Digital Hub. “But the real advantage of blockchain lies in the ‘single source of truth’. Improved data sharing between trade partners creates more transparency, with clear ownership and responsibility for each documented step in the supply chain.”

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