British Maritime Society Builds Blockchain Tool for Ship Registration

British maritime classification society Lloyd’s Register has developed a prototype blockchain platform aimed to enable more efficient shipping registration, the organization announced Tuesday.

The not-for-profit, which is already looking at using blockchain to improve the safety and security of critical shipping infrastructure and individuals in the industry, is now working to speed up the process of registering vessels using the nascent technology, according to a press release.

Lloyd’s uses its register – first created in 1764 – to record information about a ship’s condition, which merchants and underwriters can then use when determining whether to insure or charter a vessel.

It has now put that data on the prototype register, built in partnership with development firm Applied Blockchain, and will demo the tool this week at the international maritime trade fair SMM.

Gary Pogson, Lloyd’s Register lead technical specialist, marine and offshore, said in the release that he had been studying blockchain technology for roughly two and a half years, and that “from very early on, I recognized this as an area of great potential.”

He continued:

“We have taken a systems approach in undertaking this project, exploring customer needs to derive requirements. In looking at potential solutions, we’ve been careful to ask whether blockchain is a valid component of a solution. In our view, applied carefully as part of a well-designed system, it is uniquely disposed to offer additional value and set a foundation for the maritime industry’s future needs.”

Similarly, Lloyd’s marine and offshore director, Nick Brown, said that the company has “identified multiple potential sources of value by adopting this technology.”

He specifically cited blockchain’s immutability and auditability as benefits. Further, using a blockchain register may be more efficient in sharing information than existing systems, allowing different parties to quickly transfer information about vessels to each other and potentially allow “financing, insuring, payments etc. to be provided more dynamically.”

“This value discovery project has culminated in a prototype blockchain-enabled register tool. We are now focused on how we can extend the value to other stakeholders in the maritime supply chain,” he concluded.

Shipping image via Shutterstock

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