Australian Port of Brisbane To Employ Blockchain Supply System

The new digital application is meant to make trade more efficient.

by Kalina Tekelieva
30 May • 2.5 min
In Tech

The Port of Brisbane, in cooperation with PwC Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), will introduce a new supply chain system based on blockchain to optimize international trade, PwC Australia announced on Tuesday.

The three organizations presented a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) of the new trade community tool in Brisbane and explained it will improve the integration and interoperability of commercial operators across the logistics sector.

Inefficiencies across Australian supply chains have raised costs, creating excessive expenses of nearly USD 450 per container, Bryan Clark, director of trade and international affairs at the ACCI, said. This doesn’t only represent a value loss of over USD 1 billion, but makes Australia less competitive on the global market, he explained.

According to Ben Lannan, partner at PwC Australia, an arm of consulting giant Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC), the new blockchain supply system will “digitise the flow of trading information, improve connectivity for supply chain participants, reduce friction for business and reduce supply chain costs, providing unprecedented productivity gains for Australia’s international businesses.”

Trade volumes in Australia

As Australia is a trading nation, efficient and effective international supply chains are vital for its economy, according to Clark. As specified in the press release, trade volumes in Australia have increased in the past years and are expected to nearly double by 2025.

At present, around nine million containers are handled annually at the five major ports on the island, while the figure is forecast to reach 15 million units seven years from now.

Blockchain in port logistics

The introduction of a blockchain-based supply system is a measure that will bring significant benefits to ports, being crucial points for international trade. Lannan highlighted that “[t]he port - whether sea or air – is the first and last point of domestic contact in the international supply chain, and is the primary point at which all significant supply chain participants converge.”

In line with this idea, other ports have decided to employ blockchain, too. The Belgian Port of Antwerp, for example, has initiated a blockchain program, whose first step – a system collecting containers at the port, is already launched. The US Port Houston joined in March a pilot project led by Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk and US software giant IBM. The program will use blockchain technology to digitize the paper trail of shipping containers across the globe.