HANSEBLOC - Smart solutions for logistics SMEs

Logistik-Initiative Hamburg

The research project, funded by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), recently presented its findings at the Logistics Initiative Hamburg’s innovation conference. As one of two academic partners in the project consortium, KLU is responsible for assessing the HANSEBLOC system and evaluating the project’s findings.

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Nearly two and a half years after being launched, the Logistics Initiative Hamburg’s blockchain project “HANSEBLOC” is now at the finish line. As part of the closing conference (held as a web conference) on November 26, the ten project partners reported on their findings to 70 participants. “HANSEBLOC” offers logistics SMEs in particular a tool for developing future-proof business and data models.

“The HANSEBLOC consortium’s work has clearly shown two things. Firstly: there is huge potential for employing blockchain technology to benefit logistics. The level of process digitalization and the system integration beyond company boundaries in particular stand to benefit from blockchain,” says Dr. Moritz Petersen, head of the KLU subproject within the framework of HANSEBLOC. KLU researcher Thomas Twenhöven, who was also involved in the project, adds: “We’ve also shown that there are significant challenges to overcome, and that these often don’t involve the technology itself. What is far more crucial is creating the appropriate organizational framework conditions.” KLU served as an interface between logistics users and developers and coordinated the development of the requirements.

Since summer 2018, four IT companies, four logistics firms, KLU and a further university have been investigating the use of blockchain in logistics. Following a starting phase, the partners agreed on transfer of risk as a use case, the main goals being to deliver forgery-proof documentation of processes (which to date has been paper-based) and to automate process flows.

At the event, Axel Horstmann, Managing Director of the company Kroop & Co., outlined the advantages of the HANSEBLOC solution from the perspective of logistics users: “With this project we’ve broken new ground. In the context of data, we had to learn that cooperation is the word of the day. Now we’re opening up, and sharing data. As a result, ensuring neutrality and protecting trade secrets through blockchain is becoming extremely important.” In the context of the project, the companies Chainstep and Consider IT were responsible for this aspect, offering consulting on the choice of blockchain technology, minimizing the transaction costs, and the organizational implications of employing a decentralized technology.

Thomas Twenhöven, who provided the final evaluation of the project for Kühne Logistics University, came to the following conclusion: “Here, with the aid of coopetition, both a new field and a neutral infrastructure for the sector were developed. It’s a positive development to see the growing collaboration of SMEs here.” Afterwards, Konstantin Graf (Chainstep), Lennart Kluge (Sovereign Speed), Fabian Süß (Evan Network), Christian Schultze-Wolters (IBM Germany), Axel Horstmann and Thomas Twenhöven engaged in a panel discussion on the question: “How can SMEs profit from blockchain?”

At the beginning of the event, Prof. Peer Witten, Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the Logistics Initiative Hamburg, stressed the fact that a number of companies with no previous funding experience had taken part in the project, and expressed his hopes that HANSEBLOC could serve as a role model for future projects in the metropolitan region. In his opening remarks, Dr. Oliver Pieper from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research underscored that the consortium, through its choice of topic, had its finger on the pulse of our times, and moreover, had received excellent marks in both the initial reviews and the interim evaluation.

Following the project’s successful completion, the HANSEBLOC ecosystem it that it established will be developed further. Stakeholders interested in getting on board are encouraged to contact the Logistics Initiative Hamburg.

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