[ID] => 10529
[post_author] => 34
[post_date] => 2019-01-23 08:28:42
[post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-23 08:28:42
[post_content] => Harmonisation in the regulations that govern the transport of dangerous goods has for many years been seen as vital, as there is a big slice of the business that involves multimodal and/or international movements. As such, there are mechanisms through which regulators can make sure that their rulebooks are, insofar as is possible, aligned. In Europe that mechanism is the Joint Meeting of RID/ADR/ADN experts, which ensures that the common parts of the three surface mode regulations (rail, road and inland waterways) allow for seamless multimodal transport across the borders of the various contracting states.
One task the Joint Meeting set itself a few years ago was, through an informal working group, to set some standards for the use of telematics and the electronic transmission of transport documentation through the supply chain. The Joint Meeting is concerned, for one thing, that other pan-European bodies might establish standards that are not suitable for application in the world of dangerous goods, with all its particularities in terms of documentation, hazard communication and handling procedures.
The work that has been done so far is, however, inconclusive. At its autumn 2018 meeting, the Joint Meeting heard about current progress but it seems that the working group has not yet been able to define the various participants in the supply chain, or the need each has for access to information.
One can sympathise. It can be a convoluted supply chain and can feature a shifting cast of players, sometimes with overlapping roles. Harking back to the establishment of the working group, there was also a keen awareness of the need to define standards that would allow information to be transferred electronically, without errors and with confidence that the right information would be provided to the right people.
Things have, though, moved on. And they have moved on quickly. Less than a year ago, EPCA hosted a workshop on digitisation in the chemical supply chain, which featured plenty of examples of how supply chains are being digitised with no need for intervention on the part of regulators or other authorities. Those examples included international and multimodal movements, with plenty of illustrations of how imaginative and innovative technology can be usefully employed across the chain.
At that event, experts addressed the different tools that are already available and the benefits that they can offer; quite often that means not just making the transfer of information faster and more accurate but also increasing transparency in the market and identifying inefficiencies. The big issue – still – is trust: information owners are often very reluctant to allow that information to get into the public domain, even if that domain is tightly fenced in and provides visibility only to those supply chain partners that need access.
There is one solution available that promises to make those fears redundant: blockchain. But at the EPCA workshop, most speakers who mentioned blockchain felt it was something for the future – there is plenty of low-hanging fruit ready to be picked before getting deeper into the wilds of IT.
And yet, just a few months later, we report this month on what is (as far as we know) the first successful trial of a blockchain-based digitised network in the chemicals sector. Things are moving fast and those who move fastest will have a big advantage in the marketplace. Maybe it’s time to give in to blockchain.
[post_title] => Digital letter from the editor
[post_status] => publish
[comment_status] => open
[ping_status] => open
[post_name] => digital-letter-editor-2
[post_modified] => 2019-01-23 08:28:42
[post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-23 08:28:42
[post_parent] => 0
[guid] => https://www.hcblive.com/?p=10529
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Digital letter from the editor
// By Peter Mackay on 23 Jan 2019
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