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Unlocking the Potential of Blockchain in the Logistics Industry


Blockchain technology has gained significant attention for its transformative potential across various industries. To shed light on this revolutionary technology, the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) recently organised a workshop in collaboration with Universiti Malaya (UM) and Invest Selangor where the session saw an insightful discussion on the adoption of blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the logistics services. 

The event was led by Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) Associate Professor Dr Chan Sok Gee from UNM, and Dr Saaidal Razalli from Universiti Malaya. The workshop was also facilitated by Prof Dr Teh Ying Wah and Associate Professor Dr Kanagi Kanapathy from Universiti Malaya, and Assistant Professor Dr Maha Mohammed Yurs, and Assistant Professor Dr Muhammad Hamza Shahab from UNM. 

Understanding the Blockchain Process: How It Works 

The workshop commenced with a comprehensive introduction to blockchain technology, providing insights into Hyperledger, smart contract platforms, and the foundational concepts of Bitcoin. Dr Chan Sok Gee and Dr Saaidal Razalli delved into the nuances of Hyperledger, smart contracts, and Bitcoin, highlighting the key differences that set these technologies apart. 

A pivotal part of the workshop was dedicated to unravelling the inner workings of the blockchain process. Attendees gained valuable insights into the mechanics behind blockchain technology, learning how decentralised ledgers ensure transparency, security, and efficiency in transactions. 

Smart Contracts: From Concept to Implementation 

Smart contract is a program operating on a blockchain, serving as an automated mechanism for managing, executing, and recording the predefined terms and conditions it encompasses. Taking a logistical scenario as an example, a payment can be automatically triggered upon the successful delivery of goods. Through a smart contract on the blockchain, the terms and conditions of the contract are encoded, and the contract executes itself when predefined conditions are met. This not only reduces the need for intermediaries but also ensures trust and efficiency in the fulfilment of contractual agreements. 

Blockchain in Logistics 

The discussion then shifted towards the versatile applications of blockchain technology, emphasising its potential to revolutionise industries beyond finance. A key focus was on the exploration of blockchain in the logistics industry, highlighting how it can optimise supply chain processes, enhance traceability, and mitigate challenges related to fraud and inefficiency. 

In the logistics industry, blockchain can be instrumental in ensuring the authenticity of products. For example, by recording every step of a product's journey on the blockchain, from manufacturing to delivery, stakeholders can verify the product's authenticity and origin. This traceability not only combats counterfeit products but also enhances consumer trust. 

Real-World Application: Bridging Theory and Practice 

The session delved into real-world applications of blockchain technology across various sectors, including asset tracking and management, regulatory compliance, digitisation of documents and records, payments, and more. These case studies served as a testament to the tangible impact of blockchain in solving real-world challenges. 

For example, a global logistics company may use blockchain for real-time tracking and management of delivery items. Through blockchain, the company ensures that each delivery status, location, and condition are securely recorded at every point in the supply chain, reducing the risk of loss or theft, and potentially reducing the cost per shipment. 

Paving the Way Forward 

The workshop concluded with a forward-looking perspective on blockchain technology's prospects, paving the way for policymaking on its implementation in Malaysia. Participants gained insights into its evolving landscape and potential industry implications, facilitating innovative solutions and technological advancements while addressing migration challenges.  

In summary, the workshop provided a comprehensive overview of blockchain, covering foundational concepts to real-world applications. Attendees gained a deeper understanding of its transformative potential and acquired knowledge to contribute to implementation and policy development. The event also fostered a community of blockchain enthusiasts and practitioners within the university, facilitating future collaborations and advancements in this dynamic field. 

Posted on 6th February 2024

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