Once you are deciding on the implementation of the Smart B/L™ in your company, you need to ask yourself: what optimizations and benefits will the Smart B/L™ bring? Will it ultimately help us with our business? Let’s take a look.
Life is fast and it is certainly not slowing down. Global trade is no exception. Getting streamlined with digitalization and connectivity, most of the business processes switched into 6th gear.
However, the global shipping business has a soul of its own. It is riddled with strict rules and conservative tradition, and it is rarely the first to adopt a revolutionary innovation. Of course, there were some in the past; port operations are nowadays automated and robotized, ships are fast and trackable, and they are navigating oceans with the helping hand of modern technology. Corporate databases offer quick inquiries into past transactions, shipments are trackable almost real-time. However, the last truly landmark innovation in the branch was probably the adoption of the standardized container in the 1960s.
International trade is predominantly based on trust and transparency, so physical documents prolonged the provision of new services because they inspire confidence. On the other hand, some digitalization has already taken place. There are segments that are already available through online services. But this has never been implemented as a complete solution because digital documents have two well-known fails. Firstly, anyone can copy them, and secondly, they are prone to cyber-attacks.
The only solution that covers all the bases in assuring trust and transparency is the blockchain. Blockchain offers an environment that is secure and safe from fraud, where trust is guaranteed at the protocol level - without the need to trust anyone in particular. All documents are stored on a decentralized file storage system in an encrypted form to prevent peeking by anyone else except the parties involved. All this, without any additional requirements for infrastructure, simply because of the nature of the blockchain technology.
There are factors in every branch that hinder fast evolution. Usually, such projects take time, they generally need some investment, and finally, some decision to adopt the changes. Especially for the latter, one will need to provide meaningful incentive-based advantages to executives and staff. Both are often not interested in making changes to the way they work, as changes often mean disruption.
So what does it take to do it? And what can you get out of it?
The great news is that your office probably already has all the basics needed to jump on the blockchain Smart B/L™ train. These are broadband internet, basic security and staff awareness.
What you will additionally require, is to decide whether to use hardware wallets (also called hardware ledgers), such as Trezor or Ledger Nano S, for maximum safety when creating and sending documents. With our support you can decide on what kind of corporate Smart B/L™ security policy you want to implement - there are many ways to do it, and all of them are extremely simple.
Once you made these two decisions, you will be greatly rewarded with numerous optimizations. To list just a few:
Incomparable accessibility. The CargoX Smart B/L™ solution is a decentralized blockchain application, functionally similar to cloud-based solutions. It is always accessible from anywhere in the world through ordinary internet connections. You just access it through an URL in your browser. Most modern browsers are supported.
Ready deployable. Our solution is easily deployed and managed – no software updates are needed, as everything is taken care of by our tech team, and updates are well documented. It doesn’t even require things like a VPN tunnel. The architecture is open and secure.
Dependability and security. All transfers of Smart B/L ownership are stored in a public blockchain with encrypted information, but users’ identities are not visible to unauthorized persons. The real identity of users is only visible to those sharing the same B/L and after the users allow their identity to be recognized. Similarly, the content of the Smart B/L™ document is securely encrypted and again visible only to the involved parties.
No central storage is used in the system that could be targeted by hackers. This provides data security that is virtually unbreakable.
Faster access and document transfer. A Smart B/L™ can be issued instantly and it can be transferred to the other party within seconds or minutes. There are no middlemen or expensive couriers involved.
Always up-to-date. Wherever you are, the document transaction and ownership data is always read and verifiable from the public blockchain. Everyone can rely on the data and trust the data.
Register once - use forever. The free registration process is open to anyone, worldwide, and users then connect with other users they want in their workflow. It takes 7 minutes to create a CargoX account. You can then start exchanging B/Ls and other documents with your business partners.
A complete digital archive, no infrastructure required. Our decentralized and encrypted digital archive ensures availability of your documents for the last 10 years and the public blockchain stores the transactional history forever. This means you do not have to burden yourself with archiving and printing completed documents. You will never lose a document again!
Auditable & fraud-proof. Current concepts of the paper B/L operations are prone to fraud simply because paper documents can be lost, damaged, even forged or stolen. Paper also offers no real-time mechanism to timestamp transactions, and it takes ages to transfer across the globe. Sometimes it is hard to check for the real owner of the document. The CargoX Smart B/L™ solution records each action on the blockchain together with a time-stamp, and documents are equipped with a hash checksum to circumvent tampering. This ensures a secure and transparent way of handling cargo transfer documentation, and you always know where you’re at!
Less paperwork. Until now a single shipment could have required dozens of pages that needed to be physically delivered to the parties involved - this could include agencies, banks, customs bureaus, and other entities. As the cost and size of the world's trading ecosystems continue to grow more complex, the costs of the required trade documentation are expected soon to reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs. With the adoption of CargoX Smart B/L™ solution, all of this suddenly becomes a thing of the past.
Lower IT costs. We provide all the necessary management of the CargoX infrastructure, so implementing our solution doesn’t result in any additional costs for the customers. Furthermore, our product delivers virtual resources which can pave a way towards the reduction of your company’s investment in physical on-location hardware and maintenance cost.
Lower cost of doing business. All of the above will provide a means to transform and optimize everyday business processes, making them less dependable on manpower and material costs.
And there are many more future benefits. The situation nowadays is very much similar to the one at the beginning of the PC era. Remember the late eighties? When people struggled in fear of machines and were hanging on to their dear typewriters?
It’s the well-known fear of the unknown. And it can only be overcome by knowledge and sheer entrepreneurial decisiveness. These are the two factors that have propelled business world forward for centuries.
With CargoX Smart B/L™ there is no investment necessary, no licensing fees, and no up-front costs. On the contrary – there is only so much to be benefited!
-- Jaka Mele is the Chief Digital Officer of CargoX. He provides advice to our partners and customers about the best practice to implement and use the CargoX Smart B/L. He is an expert lecturer on all things related to the blockchain. He has introduced blockchain into banks and has been critical of technology hype in his journalistic career.