An unusual and unexpected issue with transporting fish across the globe could be solved with an even more surprising use of technology, as those shipping seafood are looking to implement Blockchain to keep record shipments.

It is a little disconcerting to learn that an epidemic of mislabeling plagues the shipping businesses that haul fish and seafood. It has been estimated, over the last decade, that 30 percent of seafood shipped globally is being mislabeled. In fact, certain fish such as snapper, perch and grouper were incorrectly labeled around 80 percent of the time making it almost worse than guess work.

Embarrassing technology

It is an off-putting thought for the customers, but the freight companies are just as concerned at the effect that simple clerical errors are having on the delivery of their produce. The use of outdated technology has a huge part to play as it is still mostly a paper-based system of waybills (AWBs) that have to be moved through dozens of hands across far and broad locations.

The logical step up would be electronic waybills, but even this system is still rooted in nearly obsolete ideas and processes. So, the IT departments in these freight companies have been looking beyond their usual realms.

The future of fish travel

The idea of using Blockchain technology looks to be able to translate into the needs of these shipping companies: a system, on a cloud, that can automatically record every time a shipment changes hands, creating this permanent ledger of physical transactions of goods in an uneditable and shareable history.

Blockchain technology is nothing new, and it has not just come about with the invention of cryptocurrency. In fact, freight companies have mulled it over before; however, the developments through digital currencies have brought it to the fore again.

Its effect in the currency and banking sectors has sparked new interest with a large percentage of respondents to a survey stating that Blockchain technology would simplify and regulate the administrative work in shipping.

Jody Cleworth, CEO of British freight forwarder Marine Transport International Limited, says the technology lives up to the hype. “Blockchain has the ability to empower our industry into a true digital age,” he said. “The sheer volume of containers processed per year means that safely decentralizing the management of these containers will radically reduce the complexities of shipping.”

There are already a few project tests being enacted in the sea freight business with the hope that they can be the guinea pig for others, such as airfreight.