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UPS partners with HerdX for blockchain beef traceability

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Yesterday, logistics firm UPS announced a partnership with agri-tech solutions provider HerdX for blockchain food provenance. The two have already completed a trial to use blockchain for beef traceability from a U.S. farm to Japan.

HerdX has a blockchain solution which uses connected tags, readers and verified data to help monitor animal movement and health. UPS created a custom integrated visibility tool that works with HerdX’s blockchain to provide live updates of the product throughout the shipment journey.

“Blockchain verification for international air freight shipments is complex and requires a great amount of expertise in customs and freight forwarding. Getting it right has implications for many industries, such as restaurants, food & beverage, and retail,” said Romaine Seguin, President of UPS Global Freight Forwarding.

A few months ago, a Fedex executive, Dale Chrystie, told Ledger Insights that he sees global customs clearance as a strong blockchain use case.

In this case, UPS has a strong freight forwarding network and is well versed with customs processes followed in different countries.

HerdX’s blockchain provides details of animals such as their birth, where the herd was raised, and enables farmers to keep a watch on the animals. UPS delivers the transport solution by integrating with HerdX so that freight can be tracked using blockchain and IoT.

“UPS Logistics and Freight services more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, making it a perfect fit for HerdX. Our official international logistics partnership gives HerdX unprecedented scaling power, which in turn provides incredible expansion opportunities for American cattle producers,” said Ron Hicks, HerdX Founder and CEO.

In the trial, a shipment of beef left Kansas in UPS’s temperature monitoring packaging. The packaging had sensors that recorded and monitored the shipment’s temperature from origin to destination. This data was then uploaded on HerdX’s blockchain verification platform.

Customers need to scan a QR code on the packaging to view verified health and provenance data of the meat they are buying.

HerdX was founded in Texas in 2010. In July it raised $7.2 million in venture capital, bringing total funds raised to date to more than $15 million.

Food traceability using blockchain is not a new concept anymore. There are several blockchain beef traceability projects in production. Last year, blockchain start-up BeefChain provided customers with the ability to track the beef they buy in stores.

A few months ago, KT (formerly Korea Telecom) formed a partnership with Nongshim Data System for blockchain food traceability. The South Korean government is also using blockchain to track beef through the supply chain.

Meanwhile, the WWF and the Boston Consulting Group Digital Venture arm also have a food provenance blockchain called OpenSC.