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BiTA advocates open blockchain standards in logistics

Chief Analytics Officer for US-based FreightWaves and Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), Dean Croke, presented on blockchain and its role in logistics at the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association's Global Heavy Vehicle Leaders Summit.

Croke elaborated on data formats, inter-operability and financial compliance as part of the ‘Business and technology innovation’ session on 8 May.

“When blockchain started to emerge as a serious topic early last year in the transportation and logistics space, some of us got together and realised that if we do not standardise data formats across the supply chain, we will spend disproportionate time mapping legacy data systems to a standardised data system so that it makes sense,” Croke said – explaining that industry can spend up to 90 per cent of its time cleaning data.

Last year, a number of US-based companies united to form BiTA, which is focused on the education and development of industry-specific blockchain standards by engaging influential leaders in transportation, finance and technology.

BiTA Board Member and TransRisk CEO, Craig Fuller, launched BiTA to advocate the implementation of blockchain applications in the commercial transport industry. Through engagement with individuals from leaders in transportation, finance and technology, BiTA aims to build the first set of transportation industry-specific blockchain standards.

“We formed the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance to develop common standards around blockchain applications in the trucking industry. The technology holds great promise, but to encourage its proliferation, we felt that developing industry standards were paramount,” Fuller stated.

The Institute for the Future has explained that blockchain technology can automate every type of online transaction that requires a degree of trust – information stored via blockchain technology is reportedly decentralised, not owned by an individual or company and cannot be tampered.

BiTA has claimed that blockchain-capable transactions such as immediate payments, complete automated settlements and infinite recording of carrier history and safety could benefit the commercial transport industry.

At the ARTSA Summit, Croke said he expects to see blockchain growth in the US market by 2025, with the technology maturing from 2060 and beyond. “There are a number of case studies, proven concepts, in action at the moment. One blockchain platform tracks the lifecycle of heavy vehicle equipment with telematics data for operators to review leasing costs. Blockcerts is a verification tool, which is like a LinkedIn for drivers – it digitises and locks in employment details, which fleet operators can use as predictors for driver drop-out.”

According to Croke, Chinese e-commerce company, Jingdong, has blockchain technology that shows the history of packaged meat including details on the farm where the animal came. “Having worked with US trucking companies for the past 20 years, all telematics systems speak a different language,” said Croke – adding that his fear is incompatibility from proprietary systems, which is why BiTA advocates for open standards. “Getting involvement from the Australian transport industry in the development of blockchain standards is vital because the American market can learn a lot from what Australians do.”

Dr Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist of Australia, opened the ARTSA Summit, and said that good regulation is the best friend a business can have.

(Image: Chief Analytics Officer for US-based FreightWaves and Blockchain in Trucking Alliance, Dean Croke.)

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