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Digital ledger technology is giving companies their Fridays back

Mastercard, Transcard executives detail how digital ledger technology improves the freight payment process

Mark Brousseau, product marketing consultant for Transcard, center, and Paulo Fernandes, enterprise partnerships of global trade for Mastercard Worldwide, right, joined FreightWaves TV host Kaylee Nix on Wednesday to discuss digital ledger technology in the freight payments space during the FreightWaves Supply Chain Meets FinTech event co-hosted by FreightWaves and PYMTS magazine.

This fireside chat recap is from FreightWaves’ Supply Chain Meets FinTech event on Wednesday.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: How leading freight businesses are using digital ledger technology to process end-to-end payments.  

DETAILS: Digital ledger technology is among the innovations leading a fintech revolution. DLT uses independent computers (nodes) to record, share and synchronize transactions. In the freight business, DLT can be used to speed payment processing by creating more transparency in the process and reducing or even eliminating disputes.

SPEAKERS: Mark Brousseau, product marketing consultant, Transcard, and Paulo Fernandes, enterprise partnerships, global trade, Mastercard Worldwide

BROUSSEAU BIO: Brousseau is a thought leader on accounts payable, accounts receivable, payments and document automation. A popular speaker at industry conferences and on webinars and podcasts, Brousseau uses his 27 years in the space to advise end users and solutions and services providers on how to use automation to improve document- and payments-driven business processes. Brousseau has chaired numerous educational conferences and has served on several industry committees and boards.

FERNANDES BIO: Fernandes has over 20 years of international experience in the payments industry. He is currently responsible for developing partnerships and strategies to capture new payment flows in the freight vertical focusing on port ecosystems and digital freight exchanges. He has had multiple regional and global roles within Mastercard in leading the development of the payments and data solutions for corporate, banking and government clients ranging from financial inclusion and B2B e-commerce to supply chain management, travel, ACH fast payments and SME enablement.

Watch: How digital ledger technology is changing freight payments


“In a nutshell, the way that folks are processing their payments and managing their freight is falling short. the freight industry is plagued by invoice disputes and a lack of visibility and cash flow issues, and all of this together is creating big challenges for both shippers, brokers and carriers. So today we have an environment where … the approaches to automation simply aren’t going far enough.”

“Up to 70% of all invoices end up in a dispute. And many of these disputes are for seemingly small issues, right — some accessorial charges that were unexpected. And what happens is that in most cases, that triggers a phone call or in most cases an email between the carrier and the shipper. And we get into this never-ending back-and-forth trying to get to the bottom of things. And the reason we have this problem is that shippers and carriers are sitting on mountains of data, but they can’t leverage it. And so that really speaks to this fragmented way that we’ve gone about automating freight processing. We believe that the solution is to leverage distributed ledger technology to bring together shippers and carriers and brokers. That’s priced in a digital, end-to-end way.”

“Clearly it’s tempting when you’re heading into a recession to think this is the time to hunker down, that this isn’t the time to automate. But in many ways, this is exactly the time to rethink the way we’re doing things and the underlying cost structure. The way that most freight companies, whether they’re shippers, brokers or carriers, have gone about automating is this hodgepodge of point solutions and closed networks that will never get us to the end-to-end digital environment that [is needed]. What organizations need to do is rethink automation. And we believe that the right foundation for that is offered by digital ledger technology. And if you can leverage that type of technology, now you can have that enforcement of rules. You can have that visibility as events occur in the field. You can make your money work smarter for you through embedded financing and payments. We think this is going to be critical. Businesses are going to be looking for ways to do more with less, and we think digital ledger technology is a great lever to do just that.”


“One of the use cases we are working with is a large enterprise shipper that was about to lose one of its key carriers basically due to the high [number of] disputes. The carrier was saying, ‘Look, in these times, I need to get paid quicker. I need to decrease the amounts of invoice disputes that I was talking about. I cannot wait 30 to 40 days for payment because of this cash crunch, whether it is the increase in driver salaries, increase in gas, etc. I need to get better control, which is really what the keyword is here — how am I as a carrier getting better control of my system. … Number one is transparency to the process and what that means is at any time in the day, I can see exactly what is the status or invoice status.’”

“The distributed ledger technology [Mastercard uses] is from a company called DLT Labs out of Canada. And what they do is essentially … pick up the data from IoT devices from the trucks that are moving across [the platform] and basically bringing that into the smart data contract. Therefore what you have is a real-time invoice. What Mastercard does is not only do we bring the partnerships together, but then we enable that payment and we do what we do best and that is basically credit to one side, debit the other side. But we take another step further. What we do today is we take this invoice and we basically then present it via what we call a supply chain finance marketplace. We then bring in the multiple array of financiers that will then be able to actually provide finance to this particular situation.”

“Friday is the day that [sees the most] disputes. It’s almost like we are giving you back your Fridays. Why? Because disputes come down with high transparency, specifically for the carrier. What is most important is high transparency to accounts payable and therefore … to improve relationships with my customers. So instead of on Friday calling up and saying, ‘Where is my payment?’ how about calling up and saying, ‘Let’s play some golf or something because we are free on Fridays’?”

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]