Europe’s Largest Port Partners with Samsung IT Subsidiary to Test Blockchain for Shipping

The largest port in Europe, the Port of Rotterdam, has partnered with major Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain for shipping, a press-release from Samsung reports Monday, Oct. 22.

According to Samsung SDS – the IT and tech division created by Korean tech giant Samsung – the trial will focus on shipping containers from an unnamed factory in Asia to the port of Rotterdam.

The first test will be completed by the three above-mentioned parties, with plans to later open the network to other companies. As per the Port of Rotterdam’s official announcement, the experiment is set to start in January 2019, while the results will be announced in February.

As the announcement further states, the infrastructure behind the project was developed by BlockLab – a Dutch company established by Port of Rotterdam Authority. It will also involve two other decentralized platforms – Samsung’s Nexledger, created back in 2017, and Corda, an open-source blockchain platform launched by enterprise software firm R3.

As per the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s CFO Paul Smits, the logistics in shipping from China to Rotterdam with current infrastructure involves at least 28 parties.

The members of blockchain trial expect that the technology could help reduce time spent on shipments and simplify financial transactions. “The transportation, monitoring and financing of freight and services should be just as easy as ordering a book online,” Smits said in the Port’s press-release.

Sanghun Lee, President of Samsung SDS EU/CIS, stresses that the trial is the first in history where different blockchain platforms work together:

“What is particularly special about the project is that, for the first time in the rather short history of this technology, we can have different blockchains operating together. This takes place via an overarching ‘notary’ that connects entirely separate blockchains in Korea and the Netherlands.”

Blockchain solutions have been widely tested and implemented to improve international shipping logistics. Earlier this month, the Spanish city of Valencia, which has one of country’s busiest ports, announced that it will create “smart port” project that could be further applied in other major ports.

In September, the U.K.’s leading port operator, Associated British Ports (ABP), announced it would take part in pilot shipments using decentralized solutions, while back in June Denmark revealed its plans to implement blockchain for local ship registers as part of a pan-E.U. blockchain partnership.

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