Blockchain Global Trade Trial Completed By Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Announcements, Blockchain, News | July 30, 2018 By:

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has successfully completed a blockchain trial that involves shipment of goods overseas.

CBA, one of the “big four” Australian banks, and five Australian and international supply chain firms shipped and tracked 37,000 pounds of almonds from Sunraysia in Victoria, Australia, to Hamburg in Germany using an ethereum blockchain platform, underpinned by distributed ledger technology (DLT), smart contracts and the Internet of Things (IoT). The platform was used to track the shipment from packer to end delivery, in parallel to existing processes. It digitizes three key areas of global trade – operations, documentation and finance – by housing the container information, completion of tasks and shipping documents, on a purpose-built blockchain.

“Our blockchain-enabled global trade platform experiment brought to life the idea of a modern global supply chain that is agile, efficient and transparent,” said Chris Scougall, Managing Director of Industrials and Logistics in Client Coverage at CBA. “We believe that blockchain can help our partners reduce the burden of administration on their businesses and enable them to deliver best-in-class services to their customers.”

Trial participants include global agriculture player Olam Orchards Australia, Pacific National for rail haulage, port landlord Port of Melbourne, stevedore Patrick Terminals and shipping carrier OOCL Limited. The trial allowed participants to view and track the location of the shipment as well as view the conditions, such as temperature and humidity inside the container, via four IoT devices. At the documentation layer, it enabled participants to upload and access key documents, such as bill of lading, certificates of origin and other documents required by customs, which streamlined these processes.

Emma Roberts, Supply Chain Manager at Olam Orchards Australia, said that trade inefficiency can be extremely detrimental to their business, adding that it is vital that as an industry, they look at emerging technology for ways to enhance the supply chain to develop a more transparent and efficient platform.

“This project has shown that, through collaboration from all parts of the supply chain, this can be achieved,” Roberts said.

Melissa Poon, General Manager for Trade and Development at the Port of Melbourne, said that emerging blockchain technology creates the potential for multi-beneficial productivity gains to Australia’s supply-chain.

“Through understanding volume loads and shipments coming down the supply chain, we are able to prepare strategies to meet the trade demands of the future,” said Poon. “We are excited to be involved in such a ground-breaking project.”

The completion of the trial follows CBA’s previous work to test a blockchain system for tracking cross-border shipments of cotton in real-time through a partnership with Wells Fargo in 2016. In December 2017, Sophie Gilder, the bank’s head of blockchain, also revealed that the bank was expecting to be the first to implement the issuance of a bond on the blockchain.