COSCO and OOCL join GSBN blockchain project for safety certificates

Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has completed a collaborative project featuring COSCO SHIPPING Lines (COSCO SHIPPING), Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), and the Shanghai Research Institute of Chemical Industry Testing (SICIT), which saw the organisations work together on the exchange of safety certificates for the transportation of chemical cargo using blockchain technology.

As industry best practice, special cargo with designated goods, such as chemicals and lithium batteries, should be certified as safe to transport before they are handed over to logistics and shipping companies for export.

For exports from China, SICIT is one of the organisations authorised to test and issue safe transportation certificates, which would commonly be collected by shippers from an accreditation body and provided either as a hard copy or as a scanned copy to the carriers.

As the project partners note, certificates shared in this form can be hard to verify, thus carrying risks such as mislabelling and fraud. To digitalise this process, the four companies have undertaken a proof-of-concept using GSBN’s blockchain-enabled platform to manage the exchange of safe transportation certificates, with verification of the information from the original source.

The project included shipper Midea, an electrical appliance manufacturer, with both COSCO SHIPPING and OOCL using the GSBN blockchain to verify certificates obtained from Midea directly with SICIT.

Using blockchain technology ensures that the certificate data is immutable and structured, providing security and accelerating the overall certificate exchange process. In the future, GSBN says that it could also facilitate improvements in automated verification, as well as the circulation of data stored on the blockchain among multiple parties.

“The shipping industry is undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime digital transformation leap. As part of this, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to share information whilst retaining full control of who it is shared with as well as ownership of that data,” said Bertrand Chen, CEO of GSBN.

“The use of blockchain infrastructure in this proof-of-concept with SICIT allows for systematic and trusted verification to happen directly with SICIT, which, combined with the future application of data from IoT devices, will make a significant difference in risk reduction and efficiency enhancement overall.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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