The Port of Rotterdam pilot will connect two enterprise blockchain platforms across vast distances.

The Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s busiest seaport, has partnered with Dutch Bank ABN AMRO and the IT division of technology giant Samsung to launch a blockchain pilot program to track shipping containers, according to an October 22 press release.

The foundation of the blockchain pilot will be the Nexledger platform, which was released by Samsung in 2017. The Nexledger platform will reportedly be linked to the R3 Corda blockchain chain used by ABN AMRO. This interoperability between different blockchains – achieved “via an overarching ‘notary’ that connects entirely separate blockchains in Korea and the Netherlands” – will theoretically allow everyone involved in the pilot program to access pertinent information related to the tracking of shipping containers.

According to a press release published by the Port of Rotterdam on October 19, the tracking of shipping containers from China to Rotterdam typically involves 28 different parties, and all data is manually documented on paper, resulting in mistakes and inefficiencies.

The pilot program, which was developed by BlockLab – a subsidiary of the Port of Rotterdam – is intended to create an “independent and global platform that operates from the perspective of shippers,” and make the tracking of shipping containers more transparent and cost-efficient.

The blockchain experiment is slated to begin in January of next year and will initially focus on tracking shipping containers coming from an undisclosed factory in Asia to an unnamed location in the Netherlands. Once the pilot is completed, interested parties will be allowed to join the “cooperative network.” Results of the pilot will be released in February.

Creating transparency and efficacy in the shipping and logistics industry is one of the main uses cases for blockchain technology. In August, we reported that tech giant IBM and Danish Shipping and logistics company Maersk announced the creation of a global, blockchain-powered shipping platform, TradeLense. Last week, the government of Rwanda announced it had developed a blockchain platform to track the mining and exportation of the conflict metal tantalum.