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Walmart Canada launches blockchain freight, payment network

walmart truck

Today Walmart Canada announced that its freight blockchain solution is in production with 70 trucking partners sharing data for deliveries to its 400 Canadian retail stores. Developed in conjunction with DLT Labs, the solution tracks shipments, verifies transactions, and automates payments and reconciliation between Walmart and its transport companies.

The ultimate objective of the solution is to reduce costs. It is integrated with the legacy systems of the transport companies and has the benefit of generating invoices in real-time.

“Walmart Canada is dedicated to efficiency across our business, including most importantly in our supply chain and logistics management,” said John Bayliss SVP of logistics and supply chain for Walmart Canada. “Our carrier partners move over 500,000 loads of inventory nationally, which creates an extraordinary volume of transaction data.”

He continued: “This degree of improved efficiency represents a powerful platform for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and continue our leadership in environmental sustainability.”

In the announcement, Walmart outlined the scale of the task. The Canadian division has 8.75 million square feet of distribution centers. More than 4,500 associates and drivers are involved in moving stock which amounts to 853 million cases annually.

The blockchain technology used is Hyperledger Fabric. While the platform is already in production, all third-party shippers are expected to be live by February 2020.

Walmart’s highest-profile blockchain project has been its participation in the IBM Food Trust. It’s also involved in an IBM trial project for drug traceability as well as one with MediLedger. Walmart China has partnered with VeChainThor for food traceability.

To date, many of the prominent logistics projects have focused on international container shipping, such as TradeLens and the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN).

Trucking has had a lower profile. In Europe, all the major car transporters clubbed together and launched a blockchain consortium. Freightwaves started a transport focused standards body, BiTA. And this week, UPS announced its involvement in a food traceability project.

More to follow.