ShipChain, an innovative startup, is on a mission to make transport and logistics more effective, secure, and transparent, using blockchain technology. In this interview, John Monarch, CEO and one of the cofounders of ShipChain, shares some insights about his organization’s blockchain solutions and services, their unique value proposition, and the roadmap for the future.
As a pioneer in the global logistics market, could you share with us a quick synopsis of the conception of ShipChain and its value proposition in the blockchain space?
Multiple factors have contributed toward the genesis of ShipChain. Due to my years of experience in leading a high-profile fulfillment company, I have been able to have a closer look at some of the biggest challenges in the logistics space, the major issue was the inability to track or trace any lost or misplaced containers, some of which were loaded with valuable products. The question that arose was how these packages, potentially worth millions of dollars, could just disappear without any information pertaining to their whereabouts. The shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. was also an issue that was causing a significant impact on the global logistics market. Brokers or middlemen who were dishonest and creating problems for distributors and end customers were another concern.
All of these issues ultimately led to us coming together to create ShipChain. At ShipChain, we believe that blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the logistics and shipping industry for the better. With the ability to streamline, secure, track, and trace, blockchain can completely eliminate many of the problems currently faced by all the stakeholders involved in the supply chain process. Our ultimate goal is to make transport and logistics more effective, secure, and transparent by using blockchain technology.
Currently, during the shipping process and particularly at the time of import, several different companies are involved in the movement of a single shipment. It has been documented that the vast majority of the issues occur at the handoff. Most of the products get misplaced when they are exchanged without documentation, and nobody wants to take responsibility in the chain of custody when there is an error.
Our ultimate aim is to make transport and logistics more effective, secure, and transparent using blockchain technology
Our platform empowers enterprises to track and trace any products that are misplaced, lost, or stolen, during the shipment process. Even though there are several companies involved in the whole supply chain process, users are able to track all of them in one place through our platform. A key differentiating factor is that our platform allows carriers to operate independently without having to deal with brokers. Every step of the supply chain process is documented and recorded on our main blockchain, creating full transparency for all parties involved.
What are some of the core features and benefits of the ShipChain platform?
We are looking ahead to make the blockchain platform more easily accessible. As of now, most people find it relatively difficult to comprehend blockchain technology because of its complexity. Along with unified tracking and tracing, we are providing a universal tracking method for carriers, shippers, drivers, and all other stakeholders within the supply chain. We have also introduced a moderator program to help facilitate transactions and verify trust on the platform. Our platform also automatically rates companies and drivers involved in the supply chain based on their abilities and performance. Therefore, it is a blockchain platform that acts like an open marketplace for shipment and brings a new level of visibility and trust that is almost non-existent today.
Our goal is not to replace existing systems; in fact, we would like to work with them. To simplify the process, we have based our ShipChain platform on the Ethereum blockchain, using a sidechain to track individual encrypted geographic waypoints across each smart contract. With this system, the meaning of each cryptographic waypoint is only accessible for interpretation by the parties involved in the shipment itself. This gives shippers more visibility across their supply chain and allows carriers to communicate with ease. Information about loads, geo waypoints, and other basic information is recorded and publicly validated within the sidechain. On the shipment's delivery and confirmation, the contract is completed and stored on the main blockchain.
When it comes to servicing potential customers, we follow the approach of managing both small companies and large companies independently. For small to mid-sized businesses, we plan to have a web-based platform on which businesses can track their goods just as they would with a typical web-based brokerage system while also reducing their costs. They will also be able to verify everything as needed by working with the moderator. For larger enterprises, it will be more direct integration; we will have to work with their existing systems and custom design around what they are already doing due to their prior investment on said systems.
What does the future hold for ShipChain? Could you share insights on the roadmap in terms of innovations, expansions, and technological advancements?
Along with proposing a public blockchain, we want to educate the enterprise community of why public blockchain doesn’t necessarily mean the data is public. We are proud to be an evangelist for public blockchains although today, most of the solutions are presented on private blockchains. In the days ahead, we are anticipating to hire more developers, sign more pilot partnerships, improve proof of concepts with larger companies, and roll out web platforms to attract more customers.