The first blockchain applications in the Port of Rotterdam are beginning to take shape. Leading these applications is BlockLab, established by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Aljosja Beije and Janjoost Jullens’ team is concentrating on two domains: logistics and energy.

Improving logistics with the help of blockchain

BlockLab has built an application relying on blockchain software that can securely track the ownership and location of cargo shipments. For instance, an average 28 parties are involved in transporting sea containers, and they have to exchange data a total of some 200 times to ensure that a container reaches its intended destination. By integrating blockchain software into the process, BlockLab aims to connect all interested parties digitally, minimizing both the need for excessive paperwork and the risk of administrative error.

BlockLab logistics lead Aljosja Beije said: “Blockchain is certainly not the solution to everything, but it can tackle the problem of trust that stands in the way of solutions. For existing parties in decentralised networks, cooperation is the only option they have to improve their efficiency: in this network, deploying blockchain is much more of a defensive strategy, focusing on retaining market share. We can play the role of civil law notary, but also prove that there is just one copy of a document and from which source that document originates. As civil law notary we ensure validated and thus reliable data. This creates unparalleled opportunities for automation and transactions and even new business models.”

Blockchain is also being used in tracking containers more efficiently. “For instance, there is already an app for tracking and tracing, which we used in the first pilot to monitor containers between South Korea and the Netherlands, but also for supply chain finance. We aim to continue expanding the number of apps and in this way build a complete app store”, explained Beije. “It is important that this civil-law notary doesn’t hold on to data. We don’t record the bill of lading in the blockchain; we only record what type of document it is and where it is. The source of the document must remain the owner of the data.”

Maximising the efficient, sustainable consumption of energy

The second are where blockchain will prove its competitive-edge when it comes to Port of Rotterdam’s operations: energy. More precisely, the traditional centrally-controlled electrical grid, supplied by a few dominant power suppliers with coal-powered plants. This is changing now that the energy transition is slowly beginning to take shape. In and around the port there are now numerous wind turbines and solar panels supplying power to the electrical grid. This is resulting in an increasingly decentralised grid.

Such a decentralised electrical grid faces a number of significant challenges. The supply of sustainable energy sources is, for example, extremely irregular. This demands a smart network that continuously aligns supply with demand. “Blockchain is the technology that can facilitate such a smart, decentralised grid and help achieve the promise of the energy transition. The focus on blockchain is an offensive strategy, geared towards increasing the share of sustainable energy”, explained Janjoost Jullens, BlockLab energy lead. This second blockchain-based application will begin testing later in 2019, trading price incentives to maximise the efficient, sustainable consumption of energy.

Jullens added: “With blockchain we can design such a trading platform safely and efficiently. Moreover, we can automate the trade by establishing Smart Contracts — a collection of logical rules that enables decision-making processes to be automated. For instance, the option of using energy automatically from a charged battery if the energy price exceeds a certain value.”

Modex, promoting smart contracts and blockchain technology

Modex, a blockchain company, also believes in the power of blockchain and how it can change our world for the better. Modex is a Smart Contract Marketplace that bridges the gap between developers and end users to bring the benefits of blockchain to the real world. Modex offers fully integrated services designed to solve the last mile adoption problem of the blockchain and aims to make blockchain user-friendly for every single device or person.

At Modex, we are able to innovate thanks to our incredible team of experts and we offer services for the entire blockchain technology ecosystem: Marketplace for Smart Contracts, community tools for developers and blockchain as database services for enterprises. In over two years, using cutting-edge technologies and with a clear strategy, Modex has evolved from the world’s first app store for blockchain into a complex ecosystem designed for developers’ needs and for enterprises looking for blockchain solutions. Our mission is to spread and facilitate the adoption of blockchain into the society and to solve real world problems using this revolutionary technology.