South Korea looks at blockchain for shipping

Seoul, SOUTH KOREA – The South Korean government has announced it will launch a blockchain pilot project in the Port of Busan with the aim of improving efficiencies and cutting waste.

The ministries include the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The two departments have launched a joint blockchain project, presaged over the summer, that is geared toward container shipping and explicitly on improving transparency between parties. The transparency is tied to sharing data about imports and exports in real time.

The trial is being conducted at the southern port of Busan through the next year and will be expanded to other locations in the country. The government is investing $9 million across a series of blockchain initiatives that in addition to the aforementioned, port-focused one, include customs clearance, cross-border e-documentation and livestock supply chain management.

The announcement is part of a wider initiative by the government to utilize blockchain in its marine sector. If the scheme at the Port of Busan, the biggest in South Korea and the fifth busiest worldwide, is successful, the government plans to roll it out across other ports around the country.

Separately, a report from New Zealand’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, has said there can be growth in the country’s largest export if firms leverage blockchain. The blockchain sector can boost results in supply chains among other sectors, said the report — but blockchain focused firms must have access to banking services.