TThe global economy relies on maritime transport to keep its supply chain running, especially during the pandemic, and the trend will continue.
The closure of the Suez Canal by a stranded ship and quarantines in some Chinese ports have put brokers and shipowners under severe pressure.
Ship owners must comply with an increasing number of regular inspections and environmental controls that affect the availability of their facilities.
Brokers must keep freight prices as low as possible without hiring non-compliant vessels for their traffic.
Repair companies and certification bodies have a hard time determining which ships have passed the required checks, whether they have done so on time, etc.
The entire maritime industry has very valuable information, but it is scattered and in closed silos with very little transparency and visibility.
The provision of compliance information for each ship in a publicly accessible and immutable database will enable all actors in the value chain to increase their efficiency and business revenues.
This type of database is now available and it is called blockchain. The goal of our proposal will be to create a public record for each ship, where the relevant data is available for the different stakeholders, while the confidential information is kept secret.
Storing the data of the various maintenance revisions, periodic inspections, etc. for each ship in an NFT (Non Fungible Token) allows:
• The shipowner should reduce his administrative effort, since he can integrate the information into his old systems
• The ship brokers have a real-time overview of the status of the vessels they will be commissioning, ensuring their clients ship their cargo in accordance with international regulations.
• The ship repair companies could ping the database and propose the required services in the ports of call well in advance to carry out the regular inspections for each ship.
• Port authorities could grant ships access to their ports without the need to request documents and certifications as they can access them directly from the public blockchain
Every day, ship repair companies feel the pain of handling all the paperwork for their clients and the inefficiencies that the lack of data communication between parties creates.
Having a central access point for each ship will have a huge impact on its business, it could reduce the number of certificates the owner needs to present to pass certain controls and it will increase its business opportunities by getting the right inspections in ports suggests port of call of the ship.
The solution identifies the data model that each vessel must record and can be shared publicly without compromising company privacy.
This means identifying the relevant ship information to be included in the NFT representing each ship (drawings, list of components, engine, insulation, number and type of cranes, class, type of cargo, etc.).
It then details the type of records that should be updated by the shipowner to keep the ship compliant (inspections, certifications, etc.).
The data model defines who can update each record and where to store the information that cannot be stored on the blockchain due to its size, such as scanned certificates, etc.
The result will be an NFT structure on the Ignis blockchain in the form of assets with different properties and connections to an external decentralized storage system like IPFS and the like.
There will be a definition of API (application interface) calls that stakeholders must use to easily access information stored on the blockchain.
Storing information in a common database is completely unknown in the maritime sector, there have been pilots using approved blockchains, but this will be the first time a public NFT will be used for this.
This has the potential to revolutionize a sector where transparency is scarce and has many inefficiencies at a moment when shipping is under a lot of pressure to keep the supply chain alive.
Not all blockchains are born equal, most of them consume a lot of energy to keep the network secure. That’s why we chose Jelurida Swiss SA’s Ignis blockchain, it has an insignificant carbon footprint and its nodes can run in small devices like a Blackberry Pi or an Android smartphone.
Achieving transparency and efficiency is important, but with the condition that the blockchain we use is also environmentally friendly
As with any decentralized application with participants with different interests, we have to deal with a certain reluctance to innovate.
Shipowners may be reluctant to make their ship records public, but once they realize that doing so can improve their bottom line, they will understand that they cannot be excluded from the system.
• environmental influences.
Benefiting from public information Vessel inspections can be optimized at ports of call, reducing fuel emissions when they have to make a special voyage for a maintenance or inspection stop
Using an eco-friendly blockchain like Ignis by Jelurida Swiss SA makes the solution fully compliant with climate change mitigation
• Economic impact.
Ship owners reduce the hassle of planning their inspection stops as ship repair providers offer them better deals in terms of time and location
Ship repairs will open up new opportunities as they can see which ships pending inspections will be passing near their repair locations
Port authorities will reduce inspection costs as they can, without intervention, check the compliance status of every ship calling at their port
• Social Impact
Strict maritime regulations will be put in place to ensure maritime transport does not destroy the planet through spills and heavy CO2 emissions. For this reason, merchant ships are subject to regulations and regular inspections
The fact that this information will be publicly available for each ship puts pressure on brokers to only commission compliant ships for their traffic and to avoid those that do not comply with international regulations.
The project has the potential to revolutionize maritime compliance, as once some shipowners add their ships to the blockchain, other shipowners will be forced to do so due to market pressures.
The market approach is to show shipowners the benefits of joining the platform including their ships’ data.
They will make their purchase of repair services and checks easier because garages will suggest the better places and deals for them.
They will increase their business as traffic brokers will be more willing to work with vessels whose certifications are all publicly published.
Ships will reduce bureaucracy to access ports of call as port authorities verify information directly on the blockchain.
The technology for using NFTs is ready for use, it has not been used in maritime business, but the difference from current use (mainly art and games) is only in the definition of the data to be stored in the blockchain.
By combining the expertise of the consortium partners, there should be no inconvenience in bringing a working product to market that is ready for commercialization.
Source: By Adrià Berenguer (http://bmt-repairs.com), Francisco Sarrias (http://www.jelurida.com)