Panalpina, RIM Logistics join blockchain standards group, BiTA

Today, Swiss forwarder Panalpina and Illinois-based RIM Logistics joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), an organization of logistics companies that share the goal of developing blockchain standards and technology for the cargo community. Members include industry leaders like FedEx, PENSKE and UPS.

Blockchain is an open-source encrypted database – popularized by the cryptocurrency Bitcoin – that is shared and updated automatically between companies, creating a permanent and secure record of transactions. More specifically to the logistics industry, the technology could protect the sharing of data and improve operations, such as capacity optimization, payment processing and theft prevention.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way global trade operates,” said Mike Powell, vice president of technology solutions at RIM – iterating the enthusiasm about the technology that has been circulating for months, but has seen somewhat slow progress. While there is enormous potential for blockchain to transform the logistics world, its real-world integration is still in the early phases.

Panalpina’s chief information officer, Ralf Morawietz, made some predictions about the implications of blockchain in the logistics industry, saying he thinks it is “likely that many blockchain clusters will emerge, for example centered around ports and customs authorities, carrier groupings, as well as third-party logistics providers and regional logistics networks.”

This all sounds well and good, but we have yet to see BiTA make any major strides in progression. Perhaps we will get some insight on the organization’s plans following its BiTA Spring Symposium and adjoining event “Transparency18,” which will be held on May 21-23 in Atlanta.

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