Why the Trucking Industry is Embracing the Blockchain

Blockchain technology, traditionally associated with cryptocurrency like bitcoin, has become a major focus of shipping logistics in recent months, with the newly formed Blockchain in Trucking Alliance leading the way.

Shipping and delivering freight—on time, with minimal hiccups—is not an easy endeavor. The logistical challenges are complex, especially because there’s so much of it.

Could the blockchain, with its secured ledger approach for verifying transactions and ensuring that a record is kept, help give the trucking industry the kick in the pants it needs?

The Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA), among others, hopes so. The new group, launched in August, hopes to both make the case for the blockchain as a fundamental tool for freight logistics and to create basic standards for the industry to follow. Thus far, the group has seen 160 companies apply—ranging from startups to major trucking firms.

The group’s formation comes at a time when large companies like IBM have already been taking steps to introduce blockchain technology to the space. They are hoping to leverage its advantages—specifically, the fact that the technology can increase accuracy around transactions and create encrypted, decentralized records on the fly—across a sector that represents 70 percent of freight tonnage across the United States, according to American Trucking Associations.

Craig Fuller, a cofounder of BiTA, explained that the standards question drove the group’s creation.

“We formed the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance to develop common standards around blockchain applications in the trucking industry, from speeding up transactions to securing data transfers,” Fuller, also the CEO of the company TransRisk, said in a news release. “The technology holds great promise, but to encourage its proliferation, we believe that developing industry standards were paramount.”

Chris Burruss, the alliance’s newly appointed president, noted in a news release that his skill set comes from the world of logistics, but the value of the technology is hard to ignore.

“While I am not a technologist by trade, I understand the issues and challenges that carriers, shippers, and [third-party logistics providers] face in their operations,” said Burruss, who also served as president of the Truckload Carriers Association for a full decade.

“Since the internet, we have never seen a technology that is as powerful and offers to change an entire society to the level that blockchain will,” Burruss added. “The opportunities in our industry for using this technology are tremendous.”

(iStock/Getty Images Plus/Associations Now photo illustration)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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