The trucking industry is always turning to new technology to improve productivity and efficiency.
From electronic logging devices that replaced paper logbooks to clean engines that replace traditional diesel models, the field of freight transportation is constantly turning to new innovations that could help them lower costs and improve business.
The blockchain remains one of the most promising young developments in the digital age. Though somewhat mysterious primarily for the lack of support it has, the tech is essentially a database. Data is stored into blocks which are designed to be incorruptible and provide an unparalleled level of transparency and reliability.
These blocks form a chain, or more specifically, an ongoing ledger to be accessed by any user within the network. While personal information can be hidden on the system, it allows parties to ensure transactions and contracts managed through the database are processed correctly.
Trucking companies are seeing the benefit of such a system. It could mean drivers getting paid upon making a delivery, rather than waiting around for third-parties to process the completed deal. They could streamline the hiring process to help fill rosters quicker. They could even automate maintenance checks based on time or miles, ensuring equipment reliability.
The Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) is one of the biggest groups in trucking, and the leader in terms of educating others about and providing a framework for the use of the blockchain in their industry.
They’re gaining members quickly – some of the world’s biggest freight carriers including UPS, GE Transportation, J.B. Hunt, and many more. Over 30 percent of third-party logistics companies and 16 percent of shippers say blockchain applications could be great for the industry.
The unique state of the trucking industry, being that it is almost entirely focused on transportation and is a mobile field, means supply chains present many complications for maintaining transparency and storing accurate records. A universal ledger, or even a private one only used by select parties, could be very useful in this regard.
Blockchain technology could also be useful for joining together the various players in the industry. Carriers, shippers, brokers, independent drivers, and logistics experts all play an important role in keeping the industry going, but they must all work together to truly reach peak efficiency.
While an application like the blockchain was virtually unknown in commercial applications a few years ago, the world’s leading delivery companies and parcel services are all seeming to show interest now. With more companies lending time and money to learning about this technology and integrating it into their business models, its effects could be seen more throughout the coming years.
This trend of relying on decentralized applications that promote connectivity and efficiency have been building in trucking for a long time. Uber Freight, the app released by the famed ride-sharing giant, aimed to connect shippers and carriers through a peer-to-peer platform. NEXT Trucking recently launched a similar platform, showing just how disruptive this technology could be in the future.