Date: 14.05.2020

Why we lead on technology

The Coronavirus pandemic is forcing businesses to adapt and technology is critical to the success of those adaptations and evolutions, accelerating the digitalisation of the entire freight sector.

Metro believe that Blockchain, machine-learning and emerging technologies are the future of international trade. That’s why our experts work with UN/CEFACT, to harmonise trade documents and the exchange of information in the supply chain.

Metro Shipping’s tech experts work with UN/CEFACT, to harmonise information in the supply chain

The Khalifa Bin Salman Port of Bahrain had to change its procedures, to expedite the inbound processing of vitally needed ventilators, face masks and medicines.

To ensure safe working practices, the port had to quickly arrange for lorry drivers to apply for gate passes, do security checks, and make payments online.

It also set up a critical cargo programme, to identify containers carrying medical supplies, to allow these to swiftly pass these through customs and put them where they can be accessed quickly.

Ideally they would like to move all the administration to a blockchain system, because there’s no resistance, just facilitation.

Metro Shipping is an early adopter of blockchain technology

Blockchain is revolutionising the shipping industry by connecting applications used by freight forwarders like Metro Shipping, customs authorities, brokers and transportation companies.

Blockchain technologies can replace the countless paper checks with sealed and approved electronic transactions, that cannot be changed or deleted, translating to a supply chain with higher accuracy, greater transparency and inherent cost savings.

Metro Shipping is an early adopter of blockchain technology engaging with smart Bills of Lading and participating in initiatives such as the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN).

Steve Gray, Technical Solutions Manager at Metro Shipping: “The GSBN CargoSmart initiative is particularly exciting. Metro recently participated in simulating the Dangerous Goods model using a secured Blockchain network to improve the document flow, visibility, efficiency and verifiability of shipments. We modelled an RTA involving a container, and the emergency services ability to resolve the incident involving hazardous materials safely and efficiently from a Blockchain data source.”

Walmart asked IBM to create a food tracing system based on blockchain technology.

As an experiment, Walmart’s chief executive pulled out a packet of mangoes, imagined they were toxic and asked how long it would take to find out where they came from, and where the other mangoes in that shipment were.

Manually, it took six-and-a-half days to find the answer, but using blockchain got that down to about two seconds.

The biggest challenge in introducing blockchain to supply chains is getting different organisations to collaborate.

Blockchain can make supply chains a lot more resilient, transparent, and proactive and will get much more attention as we emerge from coronavirus.

Amazon has changed forever how quickly we expect products to arrive, and how visible their movements should be on the way.

Most companies would like to know exactly where their products are, but getting up-to-date information means making sense of thousands of pieces of information.

Much of that information can be poor or conflicting, but machine learning algorithms can spot patterns in this messy data. Maybe the same delivery company always sends two messages, but the first is generally more accurate.

AI is now much better than humans at spotting whether there’s a storm brewing now that will delay your shipping container next week.

For thousands of businesses, being forewarned of the Coronavirus impact may have left their supply chains looking a lot healthier than they do today.