Port of Antwerp to trial blockchain for fruit import certificates

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Port of Antwerp to trial blockchain for fruit import certificates

The Antwerp Port Authority and local blockchain startup T-Mining have developed a solution they say will make document flows "safer and more efficient." 

Under a trial, documents like certificates of origin and phytosanitary certificates are to be transferred via blockchain technology.

During this pilot project, New Zealand fruit destined for the European market will be provided with digital phytosanitary certificates that are transferred via the distributed ledger technology.

The New Zealand exporter will first transfer this digital certificate to the Belgian importer, Enzafruit, which will then transfer it to Belfruco, a freight forwarder within the SEA-invest group. Belfruco then has to transfer these certificates to the Belgian authorities before releasing the cargo of fruit from the SEA-invest terminal.

Antwerp Port Authority representative Nico De Cauwer explained that currently those paper certificates are sent by courier from New Zealand.

"This costs a lot of time and money. With the pilot project we can transfer these certificates from New Zealand to Belgium much faster and then transfer them to the competent authorities in Antwerp," he said.

"In this way, everyone immediately has all the latest information and the necessary preparations and checks can be made faster. On top, Blockchain technology guarantees that the authenticity of the certificates has not been tampered with and we can retrieve the origin of the documents in real time.

"At the moment we are testing this solution on a small scale, with a limited number of parties. We want to test specific blockchain components, but also the new way of working, which is now fully digital. With the results of this pilot we will see which adjustments are needed to consider a possible further rollout."

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