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AirAsia launches blockchain air cargo transport network Freightchain

airasia cargo

Last week, AirAsia’s logistics arm Teleport launched a blockchain-based air cargo network called Freightchain. The solution aims to ease the booking process for cargo space on AirAsia’s aircraft as well as other airlines. 

Traditionally, shippers and freight forwarders would manually search for cargo transport networks that meet their supply chain needs. This would involve emails, phone calls, and lengthy communication with the airline to make space available for any cargo. 

Using blockchain, Freightchain enables shippers and freight forwarders to view the airline network and make bookings in real-time. The solution uses a bidding process, allowing the shippers to opt for the cheapest plan or the fastest route to transport their cargo. The bids are validated using blockchain.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to hurt global supply chains, Freightchain aims to provide some support to the sector by increasing efficiency in the cargo space booking process as well as providing transparency. 

“We deliberately launched Freightchain during this period of uncertainty within global supply chains, caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Vishal Batra, CTO of Freightchain. “Agile software platforms like Freightchain help to connect uneven supply and demand amidst a rapidly evolving environment. Trust and transparency are needed now more than ever.”

The platform previously ran a pilot to ship pharmaceutical cargo from Bangalore, India, to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The blockchain solution confirmed an itinerary via Malaysia and South Korea with flights from three different carriers as direct flights were unavailable. 

While Freightchain reduces booking time and other manual processes for shippers and freight forwarders, it helps airlines to manage its cargo space better. On the other hand, the interline booking of flights increases the efficiency of underutilized aircraft. As an example, last year Teleport (formerly RedCargo Logistics) signed an interline agreement with Oman Air.

Freightchain’s platform is built using Hyperledger Sawtooth and uses a graphical interface similar to that for a passenger ticket booking. 

AirAsia previously trialed blockchain for a customer loyalty cryptocurrency called BigCoin. The digital currency can be spent on seat upgrades, in-flight meals, and any other services.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific and SITA are separately working on blockchain solutions for tracking airline freight containers.