How to reap benefits of blockchain in logistics industry

Transportation and logistics companies must intensify collaboration to reap the benefits of blockchain.

A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study finds that the very same obstacles that blockchain would help the industry to overcome are impeding the technology’s adoption.
Blockchain adoption by the transportation and logistics (T&L) industry has been slower than one might expect given the magnitude of the potential benefits.
To promote adoption, industry participants must collaborate to develop an ecosystem that forges trust and creates mutual benefits across the value chain, according to a new report by BCG,  Resolving the Blockchain Paradox in Transportation and Logistics.
The report discusses the results of a recent BCG survey of executives from more than 100 T&L companies.
Among the key findings:

  • The vast majority of respondents (88%) believe that blockchain will disrupt the industry at least somewhat. And most (59%) believe that the disruptions will take place within the next two to five years. But nearly three-quarters (74%) say that they are exploring opportunities only superficially or haven’t thought about blockchain at all.
  • 60% of respondents believe that a lack of coordination among industry players and the absence of an ecosystem are major barriers to blockchain adoption.
  • Only 16% of respondents feel that they have a clear understanding of blockchain technology and its implications for their industry. In line with this, only about 20% of respondents said that blockchain is among their company’s top ten strategic priorities.

“The best blockchain networks will be the hardest to create,” says Andrew Schmahl, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report.
“By increasing transparency, blockchain can mitigate the mistrust that often exists within the T&L industry’s multiparty transactions.
“Yet this same mistrust makes it hard to bring together the industry’s diverse participants into a common blockchain ecosystem.”
The report finds that it would be worthwhile for T&L companies to resolve the paradox.
The benefits include improvements to speed, traceability, cargo safety, and invoicing and payment processes.
Such benefits can drive substantial cost reductions, helping to relieve the intense margin pressure experienced by many industry players.
Companies may also be able to use blockchain to develop entirely new business models.
The report identifies 15 use cases for blockchain in T&L, outlines the success factors for forming an industry-wide ecosystem, and discusses the steps each company must take to promote adoption.
“To promote industry-wide adoption, each player needs to see how blockchain can create value by relieving the points of friction in its own operations,” says Camille Egloff, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report.
“Then, by working with suppliers, customers, and even competitors, a company can understand and implement solutions that address its specific business needs.”

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