Trailer Magazine

Blockchain technology to improve supply chain security

  • Posted on Tuesday 6th, June 2017.

One of the largest and most comprehensive trials of blockchain technology has resulted in a new Australian-developed security architecture from Sydney company TBSx3, which has the potential to raise global supply chain security to a military grade.

The system was trialled on an 8,100km road-and-sea journey from South Australia to north-eastern China using 44 alphanumeric character cryptography to improve cargo security, compared to the previously common six-digit system.

Blockchain technology is resistent to modification and therefore enhances security for ports, which Paul Scurrah, DP World Australia’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said have become “the industrial world’s city gates of continents,” due to their size and complexity.

“The TBSx3 trial is an important step in testing how new technology may strengthen the security of cargo,” Scurrah said, adding that the company would explore how the technolgoy can be used to prevent hacker attacks.

Partners included DP World Australia, DB Schenker, Hamburg Süd and Australian wine producer IUS, while KPMG advised TBSx3 on the trial and verified the custodial handovers. Furthermore, KPMG simulated the customer at the end of the trial by receiving, validating the product and checking if the system could potentially detect duplicates.

Ron Koehler, CEO of DB Schenker Australia and New Zealand, said, “In a globalised world, the safety and security of supply chains for the medicines you buy, the food you eat, the parts that are used for your cars and the planes you fly in cannot be taken for granted.

“Supply chain security affects everyone – consumers, companies, communities."

The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, added, “Blockchain is an exciting technology with great potential for Australian businesses and SMEs. It promises to reduce costs, create new market opportunities and transform industries.

“Importantly, the technology provides a new opportunity for Australian exporters and their customers to verify the authenticity of their products, protecting the reputations and brands of both Australia and Australian business.”

The successful completion of the trial between Australia and China is the first of a planned series with multiple partners which will “simultaneously test the robustness of TBSx3 blockchain technology for every custodial link in global supply chains and also verification protocols for both bulk product and individual items for retailers and consumers at the end of the chain,” according to TBSx3’s Chairman, Anthony Bertini.

“In terms of the numbers of partners simultaneously involved and the challenges posed for resolution of integration with multiple existing proprietary security systems we believe this can be developed to become a new security benchmark.”

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