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Transportation and Logistics Companies Must Intensify Collaboration to Reap the Benefits of Blockchain

A BCG Study Finds That the Very Same Obstacles That Blockchain Would Help the Industry to Overcome Are Impeding the Technology’s Adoption

BOSTON—Blockchain adoption by the transportation and logistics (T&L) industry has been slower than one might expect given the magnitude of the potential benefits. To promote adoption, industry participants must collaborate to develop an ecosystem that forges trust and creates mutual benefits across the value chain, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled Resolving the Blockchain Paradox in Transportation and Logistics, is being released today.

The report discusses the results of a recent BCG survey of executives from more than 100 T&L companies. Among the key findings:

  • The vast majority of respondents (88%) believe that blockchain will disrupt the industry at least somewhat. And most (59%) believe that the disruptions will take place within the next two to five years. But nearly three-quarters (74%) say that they are exploring opportunities only superficially or haven’t thought about blockchain at all.
  • 60% of respondents believe that a lack of coordination among industry players and the absence of an ecosystem are major barriers to blockchain adoption.
  • Only 16% of respondents feel that they have a clear understanding of blockchain technology and its implications for their industry. In line with this, only about 20% of respondents said that blockchain is among their company’s top ten strategic priorities.

“The best blockchain networks will be the hardest to create,” says Andrew Schmahl, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report. “By increasing transparency, blockchain can mitigate the mistrust that often exists within the T&L industry’s multiparty transactions. Yet this same mistrust makes it hard to bring together the industry’s diverse participants into a common blockchain ecosystem.”

The report finds that it would be worthwhile for T&L companies to resolve the paradox. The benefits include improvements to speed, traceability, cargo safety, and invoicing and payment processes. Such benefits can drive substantial cost reductions, helping to relieve the intense margin pressure experienced by many industry players. Companies may also be able to use blockchain to develop entirely new business models.

The report identifies 15 use cases for blockchain in T&L, outlines the success factors for forming an industry-wide ecosystem, and discusses the steps each company must take to promote adoption.

“To promote industry-wide adoption, each player needs to see how blockchain can create value by relieving the points of friction in its own operations,” says Camille Egloff, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report. “Then, by working with suppliers, customers, and even competitors, a company can understand and implement solutions that address its specific business needs.”

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or gregoire.eric@bcg.com.

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries.

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