Blockchain technology will automate and digitize the flow of certificates of origin and phytosanitary certificates, which guarantee the safety of fruit and vegetables, to the forwarding agent.
A pilot project will involve Belgian fruit forwarding company Belfruco, Belgian importer Enzafruit, PortApp — a blockchain application developer, 1-Stop — a port logistics solution provider, and New Zealand fruit and vegetable grower, exporter and importer T&G Global.
The companies’ aim will be to ship fruit from New Zealand to European markets by using the blockchain-enabled, digital phytosanitary certificates.
If successful, the technology should transfer certificates to the Belgian authorities for inspection and approval before releasing the cargo of fruit for import in Belgium.
To release the cargo of fruit from the SEA-invest terminal, a facility operated by SEA-invest group — the owner of Belfruco, a digital certificate will be validated as it passes from T&G Global, Enzafruit, Belfruco and the Belgian authorities.
The transfer of a certificate takes place after product inspections are carried out prior to export.
Nico De Cauwer, Business Architect Port Community Systems of the Antwerp Port Authority, said: "Today these paper certificates are sent by courier from New Zealand.
"This costs a lot of time and money.
"With the pilot project, we can transfer these certificates from New Zealand to Belgium much faster and then transfer them to the competent authorities in Antwerp.
“In this way, everyone immediately has all the latest information and the necessary preparations and checks can be made faster.
“On top, Blockchain technology guarantees that the authenticity of the certificates has not been tampered with and we can retrieve the origin of the documents in real time.
“At the moment we are testing this solution on a small scale, with a limited number of parties.
“We want to test specific blockchain components, but also the new way of working, which is now fully digital.
“With the results of this pilot we will see which adjustments are needed to consider a possible further rollout."