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Blockchain-based platform now enables transparency across trash logistics

Blockchain-based platform now enables transparency across trash logistics (Photo: Shutterstock)

Digital logistics company Marine Transport International (MTI) has announced that it has developed a blockchain-based tool called Traca in collaboration with The Recycling Association that will enable recycling companies to relay essential information on trash to stakeholders within the value chain in a reliable and swift manner. 

The pilot run already has been completed, with Traca being used by CS Recycling to transport seven containers of used paper to Thailand from Potters Bar, England. 

Waste recycling is a particularly complicated affair, with trash moving through a long pipeline of stakeholders geographically spread out and often cut off from any interactions.This makes trash logistics operations prone to lengthened delays across the value chain.  

The Traca tool is built over a blockchain framework, helping stakeholders dispense information on a decentralized ledger that reaches trash producers, recyclers, regulators and processing centres. The U.K. grapples with a lot of waste and finds trash freight topping the country’s export list. With Brexit already expected to increase the workload of British Customs, making trash logistics seamless is particularly important. 

“We are an increasingly regulated industry, and data is the only way the wheels turn smoothly. We rely on it to be true and accurate, but when it passes through different parties and becomes third-, fourth- or fifth-hand information, there’s rarely anything to prove its provenance,” said Simon Ellin, CEO of The Recycling Association, in a statement. “Therefore, for our members to be compliant and sustainable, we need a system that is transparent from cradle (the producer) to grave (the reprocessor). This solution can achieve that.”

The initial focus is on verified gross mass (VGM) and electronic Annex VII forms that are prerequisites to transport waste out of the U.K., which will now be made easily accessible to relevant parties. The first trial with CS Recycling was successful as Traca cut down administrative processing times from a few hours to minutes, while providing greater visibility into the data and documentation the process entailed. 

MTI built its VGM technology on a distributed ledger platform called Activeledger in a bid to provide better security to data while helping disseminate information to all the stakeholders within the value chain. The International Maritime Organization has had extensive requirements for the movement of VGM since 2016, necessitating shippers to provide precise details on loads to respective carriers before containers are loaded onto vessels. 

“Recycling logistics is a complex sector, with a multitude of systems and processes. If we went in asking people to deploy yet more software, yet another login, they wouldn’t be interested. By developing this adaptor, we’re able to easily connect existing applications with the solution,” said Jody Cleworth, CEO of MTI, in a statement. 

Cleworth said Traca automates the data flow between different parties, with smart contracts binding it together and verifying its authenticity. “This way we have a clear operational cost savings between all parties that are using the solution and the ability to deliver trusted data into the multitude of industry systems,” he said. 

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