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Walmart Canada announces blockchain-based logistics solution

By Ashley Norris

Technology will track deliveries, verify transactions and automate payments

Canada is set to launch a blockchain solution to address logistical issues.

The system will track deliveries, verify transactions and automate payments of its carriers, which deliver inventory to Walmart’s 400 retail stores across Canada

It will go live on February 1 2020, and will be accessible via web and mobile app.

The solution, which has been built in collaboration with blockchain startup DLT Labs, is called the blockchain-based freight and payment network. Designed to reduce costs and streamline operations, it synchronises all the supply chain and logistics data in “real time.” The information is then posted on a shared ledger, which is accessible to Walmart Canada and its carriers.

John Bayliss, senior vice president of logistics and supply chain at Walmart Canada said in a release: “Our carrier partners move over 500,000 loads of inventory nationally, which creates an extraordinary volume of transaction data. Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain."

It is not the first time that the retail giant has innovated using the technology. In June, Walmart China built a blockchain solution to trace produce including fresh meat and mushrooms. Its core benefit is that it informs shoppers of products’ origin, logistics process and inspection record.

Walmart isn’t the only food retailer to use blockchain to solve logistical problems and increase transparency for both suppliers and buyers. Douwe Egberts uses the technology for coffee crop traceability, while scallop purveyor Raw Seafoods is trying it as a method to improve food safety.

The UN-backed Other Bar is even using blockchain to fight poverty. Its chocolate bars feature a code, so buyers can either donate a blockchain token to the farmers in Ecuador who produced the chocolate, or get a discount on the next bar they buy.

In the UK, Sainsbury’s recently ran a pilot using blockchain. “We believe blockchain and other technologies have real potential for those industries that have global, complex and fragmented value chains where absolute transparency has been traditionally difficult to achieve,” said Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury’s director.

The results from this pilot really showcase just how this technology can be applied, clearly illustrating who and how multiple stakeholders can benefit.”

FURTHER READING: What is blockchain technology and how does the blockchain work?

FURTHER READING: Paris blockchain incubator aims to put France at heart of tech boom

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