Auto News Supply chain

Major car transport companies form blockchain consortium with help from IBM

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Yesterday four European Finished Vehicle Logistics (“FVL”) companies formed a supply chain blockchain consortium called Vinturas. The companies are Axess Logistics (Sweden), Koopman Logistics (Netherlands), NVD (Ireland) and Autolink (Norway). Several of the organizations deliver cars to dealers in multiple countries. The solution will allow dealers to trace cars that are en route but also enable efficiency and cost savings.

Currently, it’s hard for dealers to know where vehicles are located in the supply chain. Vinturas cites multiple legacy systems and a lack of investment “for decades”. Often three or four logistics providers using paper-based systems are involved in a car’s journey from factory to dealer. Logistics data is then communicated to manufacturers and fleet owners via EDI with some delay, and it’s “scattered and incomplete”.

Reading between the lines, some manufacturers are also looking at supply chain blockchains, and this consortium may discourage a proliferation of blockchains for finished car deliveries with which the logistics companies might have to integrate.

Additionally, Vinturas notes that sales and logistics for used cars increasingly are European rather than national. Cross border transactions can raise issues related to mileage and VAT fraud.

Vinturas aims to provide an estimated time of arrival by digitalizing the journey from factory to dealer and also for used car deliveries. The group also plan to allow manufacturers and fleet owners to manage logistics in near real-time. Greater transparency should improve planning and optimize inventories.

It also says it will combat mileage fraud in used cars, though it’s unclear how apart from ensuring that the mileage isn’t altered in transit.

The platform is designed as an open ecosystem with plans to work with software companies and other logistics service providers. “We do believe the future of our industry is in collaborating and democratic data-sharing,” said Vinturas CEO Jon Kuiper, formerly Koopman Logistics CEO. “By working together, we can unlock significant value for all players in our industry.”

Sea-carrier EML is also participating to enable visibility during sea crossings. IBM is the technology partner and Grant Thornton is providing audit, legal, advisory and blockchain expertise. The target launch date is September. How can it launch so quickly? Well Koopman Logistics launched a similar blockchain project more than a year ago, so it’s not starting from scratch.

There’s a proliferation of auto industry blockchain projects. Some are targeted at supply chains. For example, BMW and Mercedes are exploring this, but often the focus is on the manufacturer’s suppliers. VW and Ford are tracing ethically mined cobalt used in electric car batteries.

Many blockchain projects focus on mobility and autonomous car solutions. These include initiatives from Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, MOBI and Filament.