UPS has filed for a patent that implements blockchain and DLT to track packages throughout an international supply chain. The company believes that the new tech could streamline logistics globally.
According to the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), UPS is considering applying blockchain to address the following: “it may be difficult to coordinate the transportation of the shipment unit through the various logistics service provider transportation networks. Moreover, if there are special handling requirements for transporting the shipment unit, it may be difficult to ensure that the special handling requirements are carried through by each of the various logistics service providers that may assist in transporting the shipment unit.”
After a package is scanned into a packaging facility, the system will select a route based on the service options from network-connected shipping providers. While the package travels to its assigned destination, information about it will be recorded in the blockchain. This, in turn, will allow the system to determine if service providers are meeting their obligations. If this system is built on top of a public blockchain network, it could use decentralized cryptocurrencies to handle value transfers (via smart contracts). Moreover, the patent states that “digital currency/assets (e.g., Bitcoin, Ether, and/or the like) may itself have value that may be exchanged for various shipment units, services, and/or the like.”