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API magazine
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October 1, 2020
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The proposed platform also offers a wide range of authentication and trust-based benefits, reducing the risk of tampering, cybercrime, trade-based money laundering, fraud, and illicit trade.

Today more than 800 million ULDs are in use by airlines yet the system used to track these ULDs has only been partial digitalized and relies on incomplete data sharing and record keeping.

The proposed blockchain system improves efficiency by making use of all data points across the air cargo journey and provides a platform that aggregates and processes the ULD data in a trusted and secure way. The PoC will extend and upgrade the current ULD interlining platform to include non-airline third parties such as ground handlers via open APIs and a new modern interface. The results will transform the industry by lifting the veil on a myriad of previously unknown factors like damage reports. Knowing the location of all ULD’s (and therefore cargo) at all times means companies can accurately track where loss or damage occurs and recover the costs without dispute.

For any given shipment there can be up to 12 custodian companies monitoring and tracking the cargo, with many relying on paper documents making the process cumbersome and undermined by trust and transparency issues. Blockchain presents a near-perfect solution to address these industry pain points with huge time and cost-saving potential.

Matthys Serfontein, President of Air Travel Solutions for SITA said: “We are looking at blockchain very closely and we’re excited to test the potential of the technology to transform the air cargo industry. Beyond cargo and across the air transport industry we see huge potential for blockchain to address common challenges. The biggest obstacles standing in the way of a seamless passenger journey and truly efficient air travel, are the siloed processes across the many stakeholders, including airlines, airports, ground handlers and control authorities. They act as significant speed bumps at every step of the way.”

This project forms part of SITA’s Global Blockchain Alliance which is leading exploration into blockchain’s potential for the air transport industry. SITA’s role, as the air transport community’s IT provider, is to provide governance for the global alliance, support the working groups, deliver all required blockchain technology components and ensure proper alignment and validation with regulators and international standardization bodies.