The closure of the Suez Canal by a sandy ship and the quarantines in some Chinese ports have put great pressure on brokers and shipowners.
Shipowners must comply with an increasing number of periodic and environmental controls that affect the availability of their assets.
Brokers must keep freight rates as low as possible without contracting non-compliant ships for their traffic.
Repair companies and certification bodies find it difficult to identify which ships have passed the necessary checks, whether they have done so on time, etc…
The entire maritime industry has very valuable information available, but it is scattered, lying in closed silos with very little transparency and visibility.
By distributing compliance information for each ship in a publicly accessible and immutable database, all players in the value chain will be able to increase their efficiency and their business income.
That type of database is now available and it is called blockchain, the aim of our proposal will be to establish a public journal for each ship where relevant data for the various stakeholders is available while the information that is secure is kept secret.
Storing data from the various maintenance audits, periodic inspections etc… for each vessel in a NFT (Non Fungible Token) will allow:
• The shipowner must simplify his administrative burden as he can integrate the information with his old systems
• The shipbrokers will have a real-time overview of the status of the ships he is to contract with, thus ensuring their customers that their cargo is transported in accordance with international regulations.
• The ship repair companies could ping the database and in good time propose the necessary services at the ports of call to carry out the usual revisions for each vessel.
• Port authorities can allow access to their ports by the vessels without the need to request documentation and certifications, as they can access it directly from the public blockchain
Ship repair companies feel every day the pain of handling all the paperwork for their customers and the inefficiency the lack of data communication between stakeholders brings.
Having a central access point for each vessel will have a huge impact on his business, they can reduce the number of certificates the owner has to present to pass certain controls, it will increase their commercial opportunities by proposing the right inspections in the ports of call of the ship.
Scope of solution
The solution will identify the data model that each ship must keep registered and can be shared publicly without compromising corporate privacy.
This means identifying the relevant vessel information to be included in the NFT that will represent each vessel (drawings, list of components, engine, insulation, number and type of cranes, class, type of cargo, etc…)
Then the detailed type of registrations to be updated by the shipowner to keep the vessel in compliance with the regulations (inspections, certifications, etc..)
The data model will determine who can update each record and where will be stored the information that due to its size cannot be stored in the blockchain, such as scanned certificates, etc.
The result will be an NFT structure in the Ignis blockchain in the form of assets with different properties and links to an external decentralized storage system such as IPFS and the like.
There will be a definition of the API calls (application interface) that the stakeholders must use to access the information stored in the blockchain in a simple way.
Storing information in a shared database is totally unknown in the maritime sector, there have been pilots using permissioned blockchains, but this will be the first time a public NFT will be used to do so.
It has the potential to revolutionize a sector where transparency is low and inefficiencies abound at a time when shipping is under great pressure to keep its supply chain alive.
Not all blockchains are born equal, most of them spend a lot of energy to keep the network secure, this is why we have chosen the Ignis blockchain from Jelurida Swiss SA, it has negligible carbon pressure and its nodes can run in small devices like a blackberry pi or an Android smartphone.
Achieving transparency and efficiency is important, but on the condition that the blockchain we use is also environmentally friendly
As in any decentralized application with participants with different interests, we have to face some resistance to innovation.
Shipowners may hesitate to make their vessel records public, but once they realize that doing so will improve their bottom line, they will understand that they cannot be left out of the system.
• Environmental impacts.
Profit for public information vessel checks can be optimized in the ports of call, thus reducing fuel emissions when they need a special trip for a maintenance or control stop
Using an environmentally friendly blockchain such as Ignis by Jelurida Swiss SA makes the solution fully compatible with the reduction of climate change
• Economic consequences.
Shipowners reduce the burden of planning their inspection stops because ship repair providers will offer them better deals in time and geography
Ship repair will gain new opportunities as they can identify which vessels with pending checks will pass near their repair sites
Port authorities will reduce control costs because they can non-interventionally check the compliance status of each vessel calling at their port
• Societal influences
Strict maritime regulations have been put in place to ensure that maritime traffic does not destroy the planet with spills and large CO2 emissions, this is why regulations and periodic checks are enforced for commercial vessels
The fact that this information will be publicly available for each vessel puts pressure on the brokers to contract for their traffic only ships that comply with the requirements, avoiding those that do not meet international regulation.
The project has the potential to revolutionize maritime compliance, as when some shipowners include their vessels in the blockchain, other shipowners will be forced to do so due to market pressure.
The market approach is to show shipowners the benefits of joining the platform, including their data or vessels.
They will make the purchase of repair services and checks easier because workshops will suggest the better places and deals to do them.
They will increase their business because traffic brokers will be more willing to work with those ships that have all their certifications published publicly.
Ships will reduce the bureaucracy for access to the ports of call because the port authorities will check the information directly in the blockchain.
The technology to distribute NFTs is ready to use, it has not been used in maritime business, but the difference with current use (mostly art and games) is only the definition of the data to be stored in the blockchain.
With the combination of the expertise of consortium partners, there should be no difficulty in launching a working product ready for commercialization.
Source: By Adrià Berenguer ( Francisco Sarrias (