European Union Explores Blockchain in International Logistics

Description


In May 2023, the European Union (EU) completed PLANET, a project under the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Its goal was to tackle the challenges of evaluating the effects of emerging global trade routes on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and ensuring the seamless integration of Europe into the Global Network. This was achieved by focusing on two main areas of research and development. PLANET effectively developed self-contained scenarios of potential future world situations, based on macroeconomic, geo-demographic, and political insights. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was employed to create various medium-term scenarios in the field of global logistics and to evaluate the impact of industry parameters and emerging innovations. The successful implementation of the program was made possible by utilizing blockchain technology such as smart contracts.

BLOCKCHAIN INTEROPERABILITY SERVICE


The blockchain interoperability platform, developed by researchers in the PLANET programme and named EGTN, aimed to connect different blockchain systems. This platform was specifically created to meet the requirements of large transport and logistics (T&L) organizations that have invested in independent blockchain applications to support their business needs. However, these organizations have struggled to establish interfaces with multiple proprietary blockchain systems, hindering seamless global trade. To address these challenges, smart contracts were utilized to facilitate automated and paperless negotiations. This not only improved customs control but also enhanced trust, confidentiality, and ensured the authenticity and integrity of data. The platform acted as a universal front end, enabling the sharing of master data as a single, jointly agreed upon, and undisputed reference source. Additionally, it supported the sharing of transport events and adhered to T&L standards such as GS1.

THE NEED FOR FURTHER FUNDING

The technology has undergone successful testing at PLANET Living Labs, and the proof of concept is fully functional and can serve as a foundation for future development. However, there are some challenges that need to be addressed. Additional funding will be necessary, and the project will further require the expertise and technical resources of relevant professionals.

Benefits & Outcomes
  • Improving customs control
  • Enhancing trust and confidentiality of data
  • Ensuring the authenticity and integrity of data
  • Enabling the sharing of master data as an undisputed reference source
Links
Further Info

The Main goals of the project:

To advance the European Commission’s strategy for Smart, Green and Integrated Transport and Logistics by efficiently interconnecting infrastructure (TEN-T, Rail-Freight Corridors) with geopolitical developments (e.g. future New Silk Road and emerging trade routes), as well as to optimise the use of current & emerging transport modes and technological solutions, while ensuring equitable inclusivity of all participants, increasing the prosperity of nations, preserving the environment, and enhancing Citizens quality of life. The realization of this vision is what PLANET calls the Integrated Green EU-Global T&L Network (EGTN).

  1. Understanding and Assimilating Global, Geopolitical, Trade and Economic Imperatives:
    1. Assess implications of new trade routes and how best to maximise the EU’s economic prospects through steering best practices that align with EC regulatory and environmental policies;
    2. Support EU’s strategic cooperation with China and USA and explore international cooperation, including peripheral regions and landlocked developing countries;
    3. Model multimodal transfer zones and global trade zones under the concept of EU’s Principal Entry Node
  2. Leveraging Technological Advancements and New Logistics Concepts:
    1. Leverage and advance current state of the art towards the horizontal interoperability of T&L systems, and promote the development of European and worldwide standards for the purpose of optimising the interconnection of supply chains along the TEN-T Corridors to a “green” Global T&L context;
    2. Demonstrate Secure and Privacy-Preserving Logistics Data Sharing Infrastructures for Globally Interconnected Supply Chains, to increase confidence in their use and to automate complex supply chain processes;
    3. Leverage blockchain federation and interoperability for Supply Chain (SC) governance, immutable auditability in recording/reporting of Supply Chain transactions, also supporting smart contracts and regulatory activities.
Status

Pilot. Report summarizing the utilization of blockchain technology can be found here.
Research by Andrej in November 2023.

© Antony Welfare 2024

CBRC