IBM Has Successfully Tracked 28 Tons of Mandarins Using Blockchain


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IBM is known for its tech initiatives and recently has finished the testing of the tracking technology based on blockchain. The company cooperated with Hupco, a Singapore-based food importing team, and Pacific International Lines (PIL), a shipping corporation from the same country. Partners have successfully organized delivery of mandarin oranges with saving all related data in blockchain.

3,000 boxes with approximately 108,000 of mandarins which weigh 28 tons totally were shipped from China to Singapore in honor of Chinese New Year. IBM has chosen mandarin oranges because of their importance for local cultures as these fruits are a symbol of wealth. Officially, the delivery was confirmed on January, 31.

The Technology

The key innovation was focused on documents. Usually, paper invoices are sent by traditional mail, so it takes 5-7 days to finish the process. IBM has recorded all proofs of ownership, receipts, and shipment contracts in blockchain by creating the advanced electronic bill of lading aka e-BL. The automated distribution within the system has taken a few seconds.

As a result, involved parties have saved time thanks to instant document flow, cut operating expenses on electricity needed to save cargo in ports, and got rid of long-term storages. Additionally, data exchanged via blockchain is more protected from frauds and more trustworthy because of the immutable nature of decentralized networks.

Participants have shared their opinions in the press release:

  • Harriet Green, the IBM Asia Pacific CEO: «We have a great opportunity … to revolutionize the documentation processes [in trade networks]».
  • Tay Khiam Back, the Hupco CEO: «We have seen how hot the entire shipment process can be simplified … with considerable cost savings».
  • Lisa Teo, the PIL Executive Director: «We are enthused … of how our blockchain developments can transform … the industry».

Hyperledger Fabric and More Plans

Back in 2015, the Linux Foundation partnered with IBM to launch a DLT smart contract engine called Hyperledger Fabric. Now, the project unites more top-rated names like Intel, JPMorgan, SWIFT, and others. Their recent planned projects are concluded to innovative supply chain management based on blockchain.

For example, IBM is going to track cobalt delivery from mines in DR Congo through refineries in China and plants in Korea to the US-based Ford factories. Another project is held by MineHub Technologies from Canada. The conglomerate wants to get a decentralized platform to trace metal concentrate from Mexico.

Overall, IBM blockchain-based tracking is on the rise now and may reshape entire supply chains in the coming years.

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