Blockchain Shipping Pilot Shows Promise for Green Logistics

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  • GSBN has successfully concluded a pilot with COSCO Shipping, introducing traceable and verifiable green certificates powered by blockchain
  • The milestone initiative aimed to foster environmentally responsible practices within the shipping industry
  • The trial marked the inaugural use of GSBN’s Green Certificates, based on its Proof of Sustainability initiative, incentivizing eco-friendly shipping

Yesterday, the blockchain-based logistics firm Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) announced that it has successfully concluded a pilot initiative in partnership with COSCO Shipping (COSCO). The objective of the pilot was to introduce traceable and verifiable green certificates powered by blockchain technology into the logistics chain, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to foster environmentally responsible practices within the shipping industry. The trial saw the first use of GSBN’s Green Certificates, based on its Proof of Sustainability (PoS) initiative, which rewards environmentally friendly shippers.

Six Years of Progress

GSBN was founded in 2018 and has been pushing for a blockchain-based solution to greener logistics ever since. In 2019, logistics tech firm CargoSmart completed a blockchain pilot with COSCO, Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG), and Tesla, aiming to use blockchain technology to reduce paperwork.

COSCO and SIPG joined GSBN shortly afterwards, with the former taking part in the more recent trial following enhancements to GSBN’s processes to further optimize operations. GSBN’s aim is to incentivize major corporations to mitigate their environmental impact by offering a “green premium” for the utilization of biofuels. This initiative is typically accompanied by claims of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction or the issuance of Green Certificates, claims that are not always genuine. 

In a bid to enhance traceability and credibility within this burgeoning ecosystem, COSCO forged a strategic alliance with GSBN, leveraging the latter’s reputation as a neutral authority within the shipping domain. The result of this collaboration is the introduction of the Hi ECO blockchain-based shipping product, designed to revolutionize the manner in which environmental sustainability is documented and validated within the industry.

Blockchain Increasing Trust

At the heart of GSBN’s approach lies its utilization of blockchain technology to establish a seamless linkage between the Proof of Sustainability (PoS) Certificate—encompassing the procurement of biofuel by the carrier—and the issuance of Green Certificates to corporate entities. This connection ensures that each Green Certificate is irrefutably tied to a genuine biofuel purchase, thereby instilling a sense of confidence and trust within the marketplace. 

Moreover, GSBN’s blockchain-enabled platform facilitates verification through attestation, allowing stakeholders to independently verify the authenticity of sustainability claims, thereby bolstering credibility and fostering a climate of transparency and accountability throughout the shipping ecosystem.

Both sides praised the trial, with Bertrand Chen, CEO at GSBN, calling it a “positive step towards ensuring that green claims are traceable and verifiable” adding that it would enable members to “create a virtuous cycle in which the value of green shipping can be accounted for to justify investment and further expand green shipping over time.”

Tang Wei, Strategic Customer Developing & Maintaining Department Manager at COSCO, hailed the Hi ECO Certificate as the project’s “commitment to reducing emissions throughout the entire Well to WAKE cycle,” adding that the solution has been “further guaranteed to be fair and equitable through GSBN which serves as a neutral party and through its blockchain-enabled platform, provides our customers assurance of immutability and traceability.”

GSBN’s overarching vision extends beyond reducing documentation and increasing trust; ultimately, the consortium aspires to comprehensively document the entire biofuel procurement process—spanning from its origin to consumption—within the GSBN blockchain.