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Breaking down blockchain


TORONTO, Ont. – If trucking wants to take advantage of blockchain, it needs to come together and work as one unified team.

That was the message from panelists at this year’s TransCore Link Logistics’ 20th annual conference at the Markland Wood Golf Club in Toronto.

Panelists, that included Dave Brajkovich, CTO of Polaris, Jacoline Loewen, director of business development at UBS Wealth Management, Mark Southey, executive v.p. of business development at Traffix, and Moe Sabry, director of IT at TransCore all agreed that the best way for trucking to be successful with blockchain technology is to work together.

The trucking industry is just dipping its toes into the water, so to speak when it comes to blockchain, because many don’t know much about it, or, don’t know how to get started.

Blockchain is, in simple terms, a digital ledger where transactions are made and recorded permanently. It is decentralized, in that information isn’t going to and stored in one place (like a centralized system), rather, several places.

The greatest advantage blockchain will bring to the industry that it desperately needs, is trust, panelists said.

“Blockchain will eliminate paperwork because there’s trust,” explained Southey. “Because we have all these nodes feeding information into a shared ledger…it means that when a warehouse puts 1000 boxes on truck, there is no question there are 1000 boxes on the truck. There is no proof required…and then we have trust between the shipper and the transporter. This negates the bill of lading. Because of that, we can automate payment. We can automate transfer responsibility. Half of our industry (with blockchain) can be automated. That’s where blockchain will have a fundamental shift.”

He added that the trust between driver and employer will also improve.

“Driver behavior won’t be questioned because it will all be recorded,” he said. “There is no dispute whether an action occurred or not.”
Brajkovich agreed, calling blockchain an API manager on steroids. He said the greatest advantage blockchain will offer transportation is quality, speed, and efficiency.

And while many may be panicking saying blockchain could eminate jobs like dispatchers or other administration roles within trucking, Barjkovich says this is not the case.

“Those people that handle paperwork today in trucking, they can be repurposed to do more efficient things,” he said.

He said that banks are the leaders in blockchain right now because they “are leaders together and understand that these paradigm shifts happen quickly.”

Right now only 1% of the supply chain industry is using blockchain.

“The industry needs to come together. If we can’t come up with a singular composed strategy, it’s going to be difficult to implement blockchain,” Southey said.

Loewen said to those in trucking who don’t know where to get started when it comes to trucking, should research groups you can join that are looking into blockchain now.

“There are all these business incubators,” she added. “There are lots of tiny companies looking for problems to solve. As individuals, go meet with these people. Give them problems to solve. They will likely solve them for you, for free. There’s some out of Ryerson University and some from Waterloo University. Canada is leading-edge with this stuff..you could go from a five truck trucking company to the next Walmart of trucking if you wanted to dream that big.”


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