Fleet Transformation: Why shipping needs disintermediation

THE recent Smart Talk Webinar brought together three symbols of this period of digital change to talk about what they think will be the factors that push change.

Blockchain, the Chief Digital Officer and the disruptive start-up represent a new way of looking at the business of shipping and how it connected with the rest of the world, particularly in terms of global trade.

Fathom’s Craig Eason asked Deanna MacDonald, co-founder and chief executive of the Copenhagen-based Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration how the blockchain solutions and the shipping industry will engage with each other.

MacDonald said that  blockchain developers need to engage with the companies in the maritime space, as it can not be the technology alone.

” We need to create cross collaboration between various actors and rather than build tech for tech sake,” she said, going on to explain that the industry is at risk of simply replicating existing systems in more secure and isolated manner.

“We can use Blockchain in one of two ways. It is cryptographically secure information and because you can have a public or private key, that allows you to grant access to others to see that information,” she said. “While on the one hand it is open and on the other there is core transparency mechanisms that can be put into place.

The problem could arise therefore that large companies in the shipping industry could develop bespoke blockchain solutions, and these could be companies that have little interest in a level playing field, or disintermediation, thuse having more siloed businesses.

Hence the C in the BLOC name By collaborating then there is the feasibility of large organisations having a private blockchain but also having the ability plug in more open ones allowing smaller companies to be involved.

As for how blockchain can be best used, MacDonald suggests by connecting legacy systems. “Any solution allowing communication  to and from existing legacy systems or enterprise reporting systems will be the most adopted because I think switching costs between those systems has been too high”



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