AirAsia launches transparent tracking blockchain network Freightchain for air cargo

Article written by Kyt Dotson
AirAsia Group Bhd’s logistics arm Teleport announced Thursday the launch of Freightchain, a digital network for transparently confirming and tracking air cargo based on distributed ledger blockchain technology.
Shippers and freight forwarders can now book and confirm any of AirAsia’s 247 aircraft to carry cargo using Freightchain without the need for time-consuming go-betweens, sales and email channels. The system seamlessly tracks bids, transparently tracks sales and automatically reveals linked network chains for freight delivery.
Using Freightchain, Teleport said, shippers will be able to discover all available cargo network connections owned by airlines in a manner that gives them transparency into how their cargo will get from point A to point B. The system will also facilitate on-demand bookings in real time using a bidding process that’s then validated on the blockchain.
“We deliberately launched Freightchain during this period of uncertainty within global supply chains, caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Freightchain Chief Technology Officer Vishal Batra. “Agile software platforms like Freightchain help to connect uneven supply and demand amidst a rapidly evolving environment. Trust and transparency are needed now more than ever.”
Freightchain provides global air cargo connectivity with no agency fees, smart on-demand digital interlinks for booking cargo space and improved cargo capacity utilization. By putting all cargo passing through its system onto the blockchain, every node in the network is aware of the current real-time status of the entire network, meaning that cargo bidders can rapidly know where shipments can be stowed and where they will go.
Blockchain technology uses distributed ledgers across a network and cryptographic hashing to both protect sensitive information and provide transparency into data that can be used to visualize a network of transactions.
Every time a bid is made on cargo space in one of AirAsia’s network, the information is added to its blockchain. That transaction is then visible to all nodes, which can then make decisions on cargo placement based on network knowledge of where all the cargo is and where it is moving. As the cargo moves, openings and opportunities become more obvious across the network, meaning it can be possible to identify unused space and allocate it rapidly for cargo and track it in its journey.
Blockchain technology is so well suited for tracking freight that numerous shipping companies have piloted it for transport tracking and logistics. In 2018, IBM Corp. and A.P. Moller-Maersk Group launched TradeLens, a blockchain platform for tracking shipments, and FedEx Corp. began work on standards regarding blockchain shipping networks.
Later in 2018, dexFreight delivered its first shipment of seafood with the assistance of a blockchain shipping network and, in November last year, United Parcel Service Inc. partnered with HerdX Inc., an agricultural technology data company, on a blockchain delivery platform to send a shipment of beef from the U.S. to Japan.
According to Teleport, Freightchain can simplify the booking process by allowing for confirmation to happen 10 times faster than traditional methods by providing programmatic discovery of routes using data from its blockchain network.
This announcement follows the first pilot of the platform, which was conducted to ship pharmaceutical cargo from Bengaluru, India to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The system booked an instant itinerary via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Seoul, South Korea in real time through flights with three different carriers using smart contracts on the blockchain.
Because of the unavailability of flights directly from Bengaluru to Ulan Bator, the shipper would have had to discover manually the availability of all the connecting flights and contact numerous agents to complete the links across multiple carriers.
With Freightchain, the connections data, contacts and contracts all exist within the blockchain, making it simple to identify the links, book the flights and confirm an itinerary.
Freightchain is generally available now and shippers can visit the Freightchain web portal and start securing cargo space today.
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