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Walmart Canada, DLT Labs launch blockchain-based freight tracking and payment solution

Sergei Beliaev, chief strategy officer of DLT Labs, right, and Christian Ramirez, head of sales, present DLT Labs’ Asset Track solution being deployed by Walmart Canada. (Photo: FreightWaves/Josh Roden)

DLT Labs and Walmart Canada have broken through the hype cycle of blockchain to launch what they said is the world’s largest production blockchain solution for freight and payment.

The solution, which will go completely live by Feb. 1, 2020, covers all of Walmart Canada’s third-party carriers and will use a web portal and mobile application.

The product, called Asset Track, was formally introduced by DLT Labs on Nov. 14, 2019, at the Blockchain in Transport Alliance’s BiTA Symposium Chicago at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“Try to do a search for blockchain on the web,” Sergei Beliaev, chief strategy officer for DLT Labs said. “Everybody is doing POC [proof of concepts]. Do a search for the word ‘will,’ and you’ll find [a lot of] ‘we will do.’ Production is a whole different ballgame.”

Beliaev was involved in the project and the selection of DLT Labs when he was the chief information officer for Walmart Canada. Since the project began, he has moved over to work at DLT Labs. Bison Transport was the initial carrier partner in the project, but there are now about 10 carriers onboarded, with another 50 of so to be onboarded by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Asset Track uses distributed ledger technology to track deliveries, verify transactions and automate payments and reconciliation among Walmart Canada and its carriers, which deliver inventory to over 400 retail stores across Canada annually.

The blockchain-based freight and payment network manages, integrates and synchronizes all the supply chain and logistics data in real time, aggregating the data between Walmart Canada and its fleet of third-party trucks on a shared ledger. The solution also automates the calculations enabling real-time invoicing, payments and settlement.

“Each carrier has its own system with its own version of truth, and Walmart Canada has its own version of truth,” Beliaev said. “Because these versions disagree, payments go into dispute. Multiple versions of truth create inefficiencies.”

He said that once Walmart and the carrier agree on the contract details, those are entered into one location – rather than in each system – enabling each party to see the details.

“We’re not saying there will be no transactions in dispute as there will always be a back and forth,” Beliaev said. Disagreements such as when a driver is given approval to detour but that route change isn’t entered will continue, but Asset Track will reduce these and shorten dispute resolution times when their do arise.

 “Walmart Canada is dedicated to efficiency across our business, including most importantly in our supply chain and logistics management,” John Bayliss, senior vice president, logistics and supply chain for Walmart Canada, said in a press release. “Our carrier partners move over 500,000 loads of inventory nationally, which creates an extraordinary volume of transaction data. This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners.”

Beliaev said the solution creates a single layer of truth between Walmart Canada and its carrier partners, adds new levels of transparency, and reduces costs for Walmart through quicker invoicing while ensuring carriers are paid quicker and correctly.

Christian Ramirez, head of sales for DLT Labs, said Asset Track features pre-configured attributes that are simply selected and utilizes smart contracts to execute options and tasks based on those attributes. Users can make changes or add charges as needed, but they can’t remove previous entries. All parties have access to the same information.

“For me, I wanted to evangelize the supply chain in Canada,” Beliaev said. “Walmart had been doing proof of concepts for a while, but I wanted something real.”

“Just as the Roman concept, ‘dictum meum pactum’ (meaning ‘my word is my bond’) was fundamental to building trade, this product creates a secure digital handshake using blockchain to renew trust and efficiency in global trade,” Loudon Owen, CEO of DLT Labs, said in a statement.

Walmart Canada has more than 8.75 million square feet of distribution center space and moves more than 853 million cases of merchandise annually by Walmart Canada’s private fleet of 180 tractors, 2,000 trailers and 350 drivers. In addition, third-party fleets track over 200 data points per shipment, so automating parts of this process using Asset Track offers cost savings.

“Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain,” Bayliss said. “Moreover, 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.”

DLT Labs said the product offers data capture and integrity, system efficiency, faster transaction time, reduction of disputes, and improved budgeting and planning.

Asset Track was built upon the Internet of Things platform and utilizes Hyperledger Fabric.

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]