UPS has applied for a patent for blockchain technology that could be used to plan package routes and to track shipments made by multiple carriers.
The technology would not only store and track data relating to the shipment’s movements, but would automatically determine the optimal route for each package.
It would also generate any necessary payments without the need for action by the parties involved.
“Systems and methods are provided for the automated determination and facilitation of a transportation plan for transporting a shipment unit containing at least one shipment unit through one or more transportation networks corresponding to one or more carriers,” the patent abstract says, presumably without pausing for breath.
The patent refers to “a distributed ledger service”, i.e. a blockchain, which would be used for “receiving and storing… offers for transporting a shipment unit”, “receiving and storing… shipment unit data comprising an origin, a destination and transportation parameters”, and “matching service offers…to the shipment unit data to generate a transportation plan”. This would all be completed for each leg of the journey.
UPS joined the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) in November 2017, primarily for the benefit of its customs brokerage business, where it sought to digitise transactions and improve trust and efficiency between carriers, shippers and government agencies.
FedEx also joined BiTA in May.
(Source: Supply Chain Dive)