This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Supply Chain Management series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and supply chain management.
In this interview we speak with Stefan Kukman, CEO of CargoX, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the supply chain management business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind CargoX? Why and how did you begin?
SK: Members of our team, me included, worked in cargo shipping before, and we had a lot of hassle with paper documentation. Bills of Lading were regularly giving us headaches, mostly because they arrived late, but we also knew that other problems could happen at a moment’s notice. When blockchain started emerging as an immutable distributed public ledger technology, I soon realized that it was the ideal platform to solve nearly all the problems associated with Bills of Lading, and similar documentation, at once. The technology’s properties enable the sending of documents in a way that it is always possible to establish who the current owner of a document or piece of information is – and that owner can then choose what to do with that, either use it, or send it to somebody else.
2. Please describe your use case and how CargoX uses blockchain:
SK: We have conceived a distributed solution called the CargoX Smart B/L™ to create or upload documents, encrypt them, and transfer or state their ownership through the open public blockchain Ethereum Network. This means we have created something similar to a digital courier service – but much faster! That is how we give document owners the power to transfer that ownership once they receive payment from importers – and the documents cannot get lost, damaged or stolen.
There are big benefits in such a process – the transport of documents from China to USA, for example, does not need to take days or weeks, but it only takes a couple of minutes or even seconds. And it is a lot cheaper – courier services can charge up to 100 dollars per transfer, and we facilitate the secure digital transfer of ownership for a fraction of that cost.
And at every point it is clearly known who is the owner of the document, thus also the owner of the goods in the container. Because, at the port of arrival, the cargo shipper will only hand out the cargo to the person who owns the Bill of Lading!
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
SK: We have numerous partners – corporations, shipping platforms and networks, such as Fracht AG from Switzerland, OceanX, GCA, RoadLaunch, dexFreight, Mana, TPG Logistics, DBA Group, Europacific, Actual IT – an integrator of port management software, Freightalia, Globalink, Global Value Network, Sprint International Express, ConsolFreight, and more. The latest one to join us is CDM Software Solutions, a certified U.S. Customs application provider and a leading provider of software solutions to freight forwarding, NVOCC, export, warehouse, importers, and logistic companies.
They all benefit from the lower prices, faster processing, higher security, and almost instant transfer of documentation ownership.
4. What other blockchain use cases in supply chain management are you excited about?
SK: We are excited about the possibility to use Internet of Things sensors with containers and then apply that data flow directly to the data transfer capabilities of blockchain. This means the data is undisputed, transparent, and secure – completely tamper-proof.
5. Where will CargoX be in five years?
SK: It is hard to predict the future, but we are sure we will be in a space where companies are comfortable using blockchain distributed database technology for shipment and documentation tracking and analysing. There are so many things happening at once in the market – logistics companies are merging, giants are approaching logistics with their specific needs, and companies like ours are innovating quickly and without boundaries.
The cargo shipping sector is transforming, and companies are slowly starting to leave paper documents out of their processes. Digitalization will not be instantaneous. I am sure we will be integrated across the various types of transport (like road, air and train), and we will be happy to report millions of documents processed with our technology.