Image: Large cargo port, Bukit Merah, Singapore, by chuttersnap, via Wikipedia

Over 100 organizations and experts representing large shippers, supply chain providers and governments, have teamed up with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation to co-design and pilot an open source “toolkit” to accelerate blockchain deployment across supply chains, WEF said on Wednesday.

WEF’s Redesigning Trust with Blockchain in the Supply Chain project focuses on using blockchain technology to bring standardization and transparency in the fragmented supply chain industry, while ensuring that the technology is deployed in an interoperable, responsible and inclusive way. 

The initiative convenes a broad, multi-stakeholder community to co-design governance frameworks to accelerate the uses of blockchain in port systems. A focus will be put on supporting an approach that considers the entire ecosystem and which ensures an inclusive perspective that benefits all stakeholders.

The frameworks developed will be prototyped and piloted with relevant stakeholders, iterated based on learnings, and then disseminated broadly for international adoption.

Organizations involved in the project include Maersk, Hitachi, Mercy Corps, Korea Customs Service, Llamasoft as well as Ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Valencia and Rotterdam.

“As blockchain technology is so new, supply chain decision-makers need clear guidelines, tools and frameworks to help them maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of this technology,” said Nadia Hewett, project lead of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at WEF.

“This toolkit will be built by the industry and piloted, so we can see what works and what does not. We are going to piece together the puzzle, so others don’t have to start from scratch.”

Bernhard Kowatsch, head of the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Innovation Accelerator, said that a big part of WFP’s core operations revolves around logistics and supply chain. WFP, a humanitarian organization part of the United Nations system, distributes food and other life-saving items to more than 91 million people in around 83 countries each year.

“Becoming a part of the Forum’s Redesigning Trust: Blockchain for Supply Chain community has provided us with the opportunity to share real-world challenges and use cases, making invaluable connections between the private and public sectors to assist us in the development of our own innovative blockchain for supply chain projects,” Kowatsch said.

The multi-stakeholder group will co-design an open-source roadmap to guide supply chain decision-makers towards blockchain deployment. It will highlight technical and non-technical drivers of success, risks and recommendations as well as requirements.

As part of the initiative, WEF will be releasing monthly whitepapers on the findings from the group, and will formulate recommendations and guidelines on topics such as on data privacy, security, creation and use of data, public versus private platforms, interoperability, digital identity and signatures.