Cepal, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, has produced a new report reflecting on disruptive technologies, the opportunities and challenges that the implementation of blockchain technology can bring to the competitiveness of the region. The bulletin, produced by researchers Díaz, Rodrigo Mariano, Valdés Figueroa and Luis Pérez, highlights the positive effects that blockchain technology can have on business logistics processes as well as operations in the transport industry.
The newsletter is divided into six modules and highlights a number of recommendations for public and private stakeholders in relation to the blockchain. Over time, numerous studies ensure that the use of blockchain technology in logistics makes tracking some important or high-value cargoes much more authentic, as buyers can count on all source information and the paperless ownership history.
In addition to all of the product information registration, from the manufacturing process, tracking and delivery, along with sensors, QR codes, transponders and NFC stickers that also provide guarantees of compliance.
In retail and logistics in particular, the digital transformation is leading to far-reaching changes in business models, where the boundaries both between actors and between countries are becoming increasingly blurred and the competitiveness of the quality of services places more and more emphasis on their prices.
Blockchain and its opportunities for international trade
The report shows that every international trade operation generates hundreds of operations which, as they are carried out, are recorded in each participant’s systems. This data is replicated in the systems of each participant along the entire logistics chain, where the information is often even re-digitized in order to enter it into a new system.
In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean in particular, it is estimated that 75% of exporters re-enter the data into their systems and then submit the printed paper documents to the relevant trade authorities. Having multiple records often leads to errors, delays in information, delays and inefficiencies, and even possible fraud.
Blockchain can lower commercial logistics costsTO
Because blockchain contains a single shared and verified version of the data, a proper implementation of this technology can provide the same information to all participants, eliminating the need for a centralized authority, paper volume (paperless trading), time, cost and complexities that arise from commercial bilateral communication.
The newsletter published by ECLAC shows that blockchain is one of the most promising technologies within the group that will mark the fourth industrial revolution. Because regardless of the size of the logistics player or his position within the value chain, there is a high probability that his processes or the data generated will use this technology very quickly, either directly or via applications that in some cases use blockchain.
They point out that their use in logistics activities promises to reduce the handling of information on paper, improve controls, reduce error rates in shipping and enable smart contracts that execute themselves if the conditions set by the parties can be achieved. In addition, it is expected that a proper implementation of this technology can significantly reduce trade disputes related to cross-border controls and make trade logistics easier and cheaper.
Blockchain applications in the logistics sector
Blockchain technology, for its part, is interesting for improving the confidentiality, integrity and availability of commercial information and logistics processes and for promoting collaboration between dispersed actors.
These potentials have driven the emergence of developments and initiatives in connection with blockchain, which are particularly aimed at the logistics sector, such as CargoX, Tradelens, CargoSmart, dexFreight and others. trying to generate digital solutions for managing freight documentation, traceability of certificates of origin of products, facilitating financial exchanges, using the Internet of Things (IoT), contract automation, among others several applications that are being developed and which will soon be See light.
In short, the contribution of blockchain technology to logistics is that everyone can access the information they know or need to know in real time. Therefore, any information that is provided from the distribution of the product is added to the data already found during the manufacture of the product. Everything safe and reliable.
Decision tree for the use of blockchain technology in a specific company
However, despite the numerous benefits that the technology brings in different areas, this report also highlights a handy diagram that is recommended for user testing. Because this will make it possible to recognize whether a certain company organization really needs the implementation of blockchain technology in its processes in business logistics. It is true that blockchain can solve, simplify and reduce costs and processes, but it is important to remember that not everything is applicable, or not always necessary. For this reason, it is important to do a preliminary study to really determine the execution parameters.
The decision diagram shown in the report now allows us to analyze in 10 steps whether blockchain is the most suitable technology for your needs. Questions like is a distributed database required? Are there multiple actors involved? Do the parties involved have conflicts of interest and / or reliability issues? are some of those who make up the test.
At the end of the report, they highlight that, despite the benefits that blockchain technology can have on its own, it would not be enough if there were other types of flaws in the business organization. Because of this, they re-emphasize the importance of analyzing the problem based on the needs of the business first, rather than the benefits of the technology, which are clear – ????that blockchain is a technology with special properties within a range of technological solutionsâ ????.TO