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BiTA blockchain standards bring the industry closer to seamless shipment tracking

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Today, the technology of blockchain has gained a firm foothold in the logistics and supply chain industry. Several blockchain pilot programs have been initiated across the ecosystem by companies that are looking to improve transparency and visibility in their supply chains – a sign of healthy cynicism to have front-row seats on the blockchain bandwagon.

Though this could be assumed to be an extension of the eternal fascination that companies have towards increasing operational efficiency and the decisive fear of missing out (FOMO) factor on futuristic technology, it is essential to define blockchain’s capabilities within the industry, rather than to fall back on bland rhetoric of textbook merits and theoretical possibilities.   

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), an association comprised of hundreds of stakeholders within the transportation and logistics sectors, was founded to comprehensively answer a simple question that has puzzled the industry for a very long time – “where is my shipment at?”

The idea of BiTA is to create a set of open blockchain standards – a framework that would act as a springboard for companies within the industry to develop blockchain-related applications. “Logistics processes are no longer within an enterprise or just within a few partners – they now span a whole network of participants across the transportation and supply chain industry. And the current systems and standards of these networks were never designed for the scenarios or are quite antiquated to cope,” said Ben Kothari, Chair of the BiTA Tracking Document Data Component Working Group.

To monitor the real-time movement of a shipment through blockchain, it is critical to define a whole array of components within supply chain entities, while also initiating stable relationships between different parties. Defining the core set of entities and creating contracts that they will work on is instrumental in helping businesses manage operations in a more streamlined and efficient way.

Kothari contended that defining every element within a transaction was critical to see progress, and that BiTA was on track to create deeper and richer definitions for entities over the course of this year. BiTA standards will help businesses understand, at a broader level, what the processes look like, the entities that operate within these processes, and the smart contracts or agreements that are built on top of them – helping companies operate without friction in a network.

“Once the definitions emerge, we’ll be able to create a foundation in terms of how these entities help in conducting transportation business, thus eventually answering the question of where a shipment is in real-time. Shipments traverse across multiple carriers, modes and channels, and creating industry standards are integral to addressing the tracking problem” said Kothari.   

Kothari explained that BiTA standards are relevant to the industry, as it was the first of its kind in the blockchain space, standing alone without banking on antiquated and legacy standards. BiTA has created a niche within the shipment tracking segment by focusing on solving issues related to transportation, rather than making the standards generic to suit every industry.

“There are several standards that are very broadly defined, thus ending up losing focus on the specific set of problems that need to be solved. BiTA comes into the picture with a laser-focus on the transportation industry, which makes it distinctive,” said Kothari.

Even with tailor-made standards for the transportation industry, there have been differing opinions on the need for “openness” in such standards – such as the proprietary blockchain platforms that the maritime industry is witnessing through TradeLens, a joint venture between Maersk Line and IBM.

Kothari insisted that creating proprietary blockchain-related applications – though are valuable to the blockchain movement at-large, is not solving the issue with transparency across the ecosystem. In the end, a proprietary blockchain network owned by Maersk would be hard pressed to serve the container line’s interest, thus defeating blockchain’s promise of equal ownership and transparency among network stakeholders.

“When you restrict participation in a blockchain program, what you essentially have is a distributed or point-to-point messaging platform. That does not add any new value to the system. All you create is another siloed environment that works on integrating and translating different messaging platforms and protocols,” said Kothari. “With proprietary programs, you will not be solving any problem, but will only end up introducing an extra component to the problem.”

BiTA’s roadmap this year involves building on the foundation it laid out last week through its blockchain standards. In essence, the overall intention is to progress to the point where the industry would see sense in permanently phasing out legacy EDI systems and depending on blockchain-based solutions for tracking shipments.

GLT Logistics joins Blockchain in Transport Alliance

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GLT Logistics, a third-party logistics company with a broad national carrier network, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA). The Alliance is an organization dedicated to developing best practices and standards for blockchain in the transportation industry.

Blockchain is an open, distributed digital ledger that can record and share transactions between two or more parties efficiently, securely and permanently. This technology is profoundly needed. Experts estimate that there is about $140 billion tied up in transportation-related payment disputes every day and processing costs have risen to as much as 20 percent of total company costs. Blockchain enables transportation companies like GLT Logistics to more accurately track shipments, routes and trucks while providing a highly secure platform that permits faster processing and payments. GLT prides itself on responsive customer service, a broad carrier network, and innovative technology. Participating in BiTA will only enhance the company’s stellar reputation.

“By joining BiTA, GLT Logistics will work with other transportation leaders in order to develop industry-changing technologies that will provide our customers with supplementary services, improved options, and more accurate and real-time information,” said Ricardo Gonzalez, Chief Technology Officer of GLT Logistics. “Blockchain is very rapidly changing the world and we want to be at the forefront of implementing this technology in the transportation industry.”

Arlen Stark, BiTA’s chief of staff, said, “On behalf of the members and staff of BiTA, I welcome GLT Logistics as a member of the Alliance. GLT’s expertise in third-party logistics will be invaluable as the Alliance develops standards for the transportation and supply chain marketplace.”

GLT Logistics is a third-party logistics company founded in Miami, Florida in 2002, as a broad carrier network focused on developing logistics and transportation solutions to simplify the inland freight shipping process. GLT specializes in helping customers reduce shipping costs, enhance carrier services and improve auditing and analytics through personal customer service.

Founded in August 2017, BiTA has quickly grown into the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, with nearly 500 members that collectively generate over $1 trillion in revenue annually. BiTA members are primarily from the freight, transportation, logistics and affiliated industries. Alliance members share a common mission to develop a standards framework, educate the market on blockchain applications and encourage the use of those applications. BiTA has offices in: Chattanooga, Tennessee (North American Region); Sydney, Australia (Asia-Pacific Region); and London (European Region).

Asset Balance Solutions joins Blockchain in Transport Alliance

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Asset Balance Solutions (ABS), a data strategy and visualization consulting company with strong ties to the transportation industry, recently became a member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).

Applications of blockchain technology within the transportation industry are growing at an exponential rate, but so are the hurdles to incorporating such technology to existing platforms. ABS is excited to partner with other BiTA members to develop standards and education in blockchain technologies for the freight, transportation and logistics industries.

Recognizing the immeasurable potential to advance operational efficiency within the supply chain, ABS will be well-positioned to help foster this future by aligning the company’s deep knowledge of information flow within the transportation industry with the newly formed standards. Josh Kolar, the company’s Founder and Owner stated, “ABS sees tremendous value in our BiTA membership. With the BiTA community at the forefront in establishing new blockchain standards, these direct efforts will pave the way for the blockchain expansion and revolution in the overall transportation industry.”

Chris Burruss, BiTA President, said, "Asset Balance Solutions is the latest member of BiTA, and we look forward to its contributions to the BiTA Community. With interest in blockchain technology growing rapidly, there is an increasing need for standardization in freight, transportation and logistics around the world. The Alliance was established by experienced technology and transportation/logistics experts to build common standards and promote blockchain education. ABS brings a deep knowledge of current industry practices and standards, which will be critical to establishing a seamless path into blockchain application.”

Asset Balance Solutions (ABS) is a data strategy and visualization consulting company with strong ties to the transportation industry. ABS Founder Josh Kolar has 15+ years of real-world experience, including holding various positions at a major railroad and trucking companies within the Omaha, Nebraska area. While ABS primarily focuses on providing data strategy and visualization solutions to its clients, we will be looking to expand our services and expertise into the blockchain technologies space through our participation in creating and fostering adoption of these new standards.

DAC joins Blockchain in Transport Alliance

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DAC, a Polish software development and hardware integration company, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), the largest commercial blockchain partnership in the world.

Przemysław Szleter, chief executive officer of DAC, stated, “As we focus on helping our customers to improve their value chain efficiency, the application of blockchain technologies seemed to be an obvious step. We hope that membership in BiTA will bring us an opportunity to always stay up to date with the best practices in this field.”

“On behalf of the Alliance and its members, I want to wish a warm welcome to DAC,” said Oliver Haines, BiTA Vice President for Europe. “The expertise of the DAC staff will help BiTA move forward in its quest to develop open-source blockchain standards.”

According to DAC, there is room for a great deal of improvement at almost every stage of freight movement. Many systems and procedures lack efficiency; however, the majority of stakeholders in the transportation and logistics have not been able to develop commonly agreed upon processes.

Industry digitalization has brought opportunities for better asset utilization and significant financial savings for transport and supply chain companies. BiTA members believe that Implementation of blockchain technologies to improve traceability, trackability, easier compliance with regulation or payments automation may bring billions in savings for companies and their clients, as well as improving the overall experience in the freight movement industry.

“By participating in BiTA’s Think Tanks, Working Groups and Technical Committees, DAC will be able to take part in decision-making processes on the directions and strategies for the development of blockchain technologies for the transportation and logistics industries in the coming years,” said says Mateusz Bonecki, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer at DAC. “We look forward to those opportunities with great anticipation!”

About DAC

For over 10 years DAC has been helping industry leaders to boost the efficiency of their value network. The DAC team works at the intersection of technology, science and business. With its software and hardware integration expertise, the company positively impacts how the network produces benefits. This, in turn, helps the DAC team to provide their customers with a tangible increase in asset value.

The solutions delivered by DAC are the result of a unique blend of research and management methodologies embedded in software development and hardware integration processes.

About BiTA
Founded in August 2017, BiTA has quickly grown into the largest commercial blockchain alliance in the world, with nearly 500 members in more than 25 countries that collectively generate over $1 trillion in revenue annually. BiTA members are primarily from the freight, transportation, and logistics industries. The Alliance was formed by experienced technology, transportation, and supply chain executives to create a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry. BiTA members share a common mission to develop a standards framework, educate the market on blockchain applications and encourage the use of those applications. For more information, please visit the BiTA website at www.bita.studio/.