First operational use of public blockchain technology in the global shipping industry announced

MTI (Marine Transport International (UK) Limited) has deployed what it describes as the world's first public blockchain solution in the global shipping industry.

MTI is a freight forwarder based in the UK and US. It provides sophisticated, technology-based freight forwarding solutions for global shipping companies worldwide.

Public blockchain technology will connect the supply chain together, in a way which the industry has never seen before. Furthermore, trust and partnership is reinforced with the blockchain, in an industry where such principles can at times be misunderstood.

It will allow companies to build efficient business ecosystems between supply chain parties or actors in the public blockchain. The blockchain will also accelerate the flow of data distributed between parties, whilst at the same time reducing reliance on the typical IT architecture that plaque companies today.

With millions of transactions processed each day in the shipping industry, the public blockchain will not only increase data efficiency, but also provide long term savings for EDI transmission (Electronic Data Interchange) dependent companies.

MTI is using the TrustMe public blockchain technology and the services from predictive analytics expert Black Swan Data Limited. The technology will be used within its SolasVGM product offering to enable the secure and open dissemination of shipping container information.

Since 1st July 2016, Contracting Governments to the International Maritime Organisation's SOLAS treaty (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) have been required to implement new requirements related to the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of packed containers. The new regulation puts the responsibility on the shipper to ensure that an accurate VGM is provided to the terminal/carrier for every container loaded prior to it being allowed to be shipped on-board on a vessel.

Using the TrustMe solution, VGM data is stored on the global blockchain, providing a permanent records visible to port officials, shippers and cargo owners. This replaces cumbersome logs, spreadsheets, data intermediaries and private databases. Previously, data has been deeply ingrained in old legacy systems. This causes delays in the development of new capabilities, hindering the ability for carriers to make rapid changes to services.

The blockchain is a data structure makes it possible to overcome these issues, creating a permanent digital public ledger of transactions which can be shared among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority. Designated parties can record and retrieve data from anywhere in the world using mobile phones, tablets and PCs, eliminating the need for costly, proprietary infrastructure.

Blockchain data is verified, immutable, and globally accessible, making it a perfect technology for solutions like the SolasVGM product.

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