This summer’s cyberattacks wrought havoc across maritime supply chains as malware destroyed or corrupted critical data that underpins global shipping operations. However, a successful pilot program by logistics technology company Marine Transport International (MTI) has proven that blockchain technology can offset security risks and prevent future disruption.
“A blockchain-enabled supply chain is highly resilient to cyberattacks – a copy of the essential shipping data is stored on each node on a decentralized network, meaning that even if one node is compromised, the data is safe, nevertheless,” explained Jody Cleworth, CEO of Marine Transport International.
While disruption from the latest large attack was largely felt in the maritime side of the freight business, trucking firm TNT Express lost critical air freight data to the Petya cyberattack, some of which may never be recovered. The same industrial-scale cyberattacks left large ocean shipping lines, such as Maersk, completely paralyzed and unable to serve clients.
MTI says that its “Container Streams” blockchain system could be deployed across other modes. “The interface is easily adaptable to existing systems there is a very low barrier to entry,” Cleworth explained. “Any type of supply chain business, be it marine-, air-, or land-based, can take advantage of such a system – the cost savings that we envisage are as high as 90 percent, as a result of substantially streamlined processes.”
It’s that decentralization that makes Container Streams and other blockchain solutions so attractive in a market under constant bombardment from malware, MTI said. While Petya forced major transportation companies to quarantine large parts of their networks due to its virulence, global networks are under attack 24/7 from other, less publicized threats and hacks. With a copy of critical shipping data stored on every node in the system, blockchain technology allows shipping managers to call on uninfected computers to recall data that might be lost in an attack.
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