On June 5, the Logistics Alliance Germany hosted a forum at transport logistic Munich titled “Blockchain – Enabler for the logistics of the future.” Concrete scenarios have already shown that the potential of blockchain technology extends to many different areas of logistics. Within the logistics sector, numerous service providers are intensively putting beneficial uses of the technology to the test.
The popularity of the event and the interest from participants ensured that Forum 1 in Hall A4 was at full capacity. With all the seats occupied, attendees also filled the aisles and in-between spaces of the forum venue, with standing room only.
Birgit Breitfuß-Renner, division head of the department for policy matters and strategies for passenger and freight transit in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, delivered a welcoming address in which she emphasized the importance of digital innovation for logistics. She also pointed out that Germany is in a good starting position, as numerous players are already doing important work in digital areas.
Professor Michael Henke, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and holder of the Chair for Corporate Logistics (LFO) of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the TU Dortmund, delivered an impressive opening presentation on the potential that Blockchain technology offers for logistics and supply chain management. Underpinning his argument were current application examples from the Blockchain & Supply Chain Demonstrator.
Heiko Müller from HEC GmbH presented the Hansebloc project on behalf of the project consortium. The project’s goal is to develop a prototype of an SCM portal using blockchain technology for the entire transport chain, integrating a broad range of partners and transport modes.
Antonio Marsano from Mosolf SE & Co. KG urged all interested parties to dive into the area of blockchain. In his talk, Marsano explained that blockchain is not as difficult as many believe. He demonstrated how digital bills of consignment can be made transparent and secure with the help of blockchain technology. He also provided valuable information on how innovative approaches, so-called “techperiments,” can be swiftly tested within companies.
Dr. Bejoy Jacob of DeutschePostDHL highlighted the applications of blockchain for the air trade sector and stressed the significance of an open platform approach that enables the integration of a wide range of players and stakeholders.
Heinz Fabrinsky of DB Systel presented DB Coins, a foundation for smart contracts and automated billing. Documentation and billing, as well proof of origin, financing and insurance are the focal areas for automated processing of logistics and the exchange of goods.
Prof. Dr. Volker Tolkmitt from the Blockchain Competence Center Mittweida BCCM delivered the final talk of the forum, “In block instead of step by step.” Using leasing and purchase contracts as examples, he highlighted the potential added value of using blockchain technology, but also the issues that still lie ahead.
With this, it was made impressively clear that blockchain technology or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) has gone beyond the niche it once occupied and is preparing to become an enabler for the logistics of the future. The examples from the German logistics industry demonstrate not only the importance of this technology, but also show that the future of logistics is being shaped with combined expertise “made in Germany.”