Singapore-based logistics company Cargo Community Network (CCN) and Microsoft launched a blockchain-based billing, costing and reconciliation system for air cargo at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Cargo Symposium in Singapore this week.
The blockchain-based system, developed on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, is designed to minimize billing discrepancies, accelerate billing reconciliation and provide real-time revenue recognition to increase operational efficiency for airlines, freight forwarders and other stakeholders in air cargo. The system provides air cargo industry stakeholders a single and secure data-sharing platform where air cargo shipment rates, shipment details and billing processes are computed and updated directly to blockchain in real-time.
“The typical air cargo billing, costing and reconciliation process can involve many stakeholders along the entire supply chain. The processes are also very manual, manpower-intensive and prone to error,” said Teow Boon Ling, CEO at CCN. With the new blockchain system, the billing cycle is shortened from up to three weeks to several hours, reduces discrepancies and allows for greater accountability and visibility across the supply chain.
The launch of Microsoft’s and CCN’s new system followed a hackathon organized by the companies, as well as a two-month proof-of-concept (POC) testing period that included carriers and freight forwarders, such as Singapore Airlines, Singapore-based ground handler SATS Ltd., Singapore-based Alliance 21 logistics and Paris-based Bolloré logistics. According to Microsoft, the system’s design is flexible, which will allow CCN to add more capabilities and onboard more partners in the future.
Blockchain has been a hot topic for the air cargo industry, as stakeholders seek methods to ensure smart and secure ledgering systems. Over the past year, industry stakeholders including airports, express carriers and logistics companies have invested in developing and integrating blockchain systems into their operations.