Blockchain for port logistics

Research: 2017-2019

Can blockchain technology be used in port logistics? What are practical applications?



A white paper on blockchain and port logistics provides insight into the possible applications of the technology. In addition, specific cases have been selected for which blockchain technology applications are now being developed. This is done in the form of a living lab in which four blockchain applications are developed that eventually can be put into practice.

The white paper identified characteristics of blockchain technology that are relevant to the situation in the port:

  • Collectives benefit most from Blockchain technology.
  • Using Blockchain there is no need to know who the specific users within a transport chain are (users are anonymous).
  • Blockchain technology can be the solution for limited mutual trust within the transport chain.

Taking into account these characteristics, it is possible to investigate whether blockchain can enable a smooth logistics process, with shifts in ownership and the transfer of goods, even in currently unlikely situations.

With the knowledge gained in the living lab, it becomes clear to what extent blockchain could be used in port logistics, and what the impact of blockchain will be on the entire logistics system and its components: physically (goods), digitally (data, information), financially and in the field of insurances.

The use of digital transfer tickets stimulates the drafting of smart contracts.


  • Real-time insight and transparency in (trans)actions will be provided by the application of smart contracts in the fields of taxes, insurances, inspection / customs and payments.
  • Digitalization of paper work resulting in fewer document flows and fewer administrative burdens.
  • Low-threshold access to large-scale transport systems.
  • More data will become available, enabling individual parties and the chain as a whole to work more efficiently, i.a. because more parts of the process can be automated (data driven).


  • A basic understanding of blockchain is necessary for users as well as a general trust in blockchain and in the relevant blockchain application.
  • There are hardly any blockchain developers.
  • Sufficient computing power is required per blockchain application.


  • Chain optimization: Efficiency and cost reduction in the chain.
  • More predictability / reliability and transparency.
  • Savings on turnaround times and fewer administrative burdens.
  • Information from the blockchain helps to improve the physical and transactional parts.


ABN AMRO, BeScope, Centric, Exact, FloraHolland, Innopay, NBK, Port of Rotterdam Authority,Reverse Logistics (RLG), Supply Chain Finance Community, TNO, TransFollow, TU Delft, Windesheim.

‘Because logistics is data-driven and blockchain technology provides data trust and data privacy it’s a marriage made in heaven.’

René Bruijne

general manager, TransFollow

‘We need to collaborate to implement innovative blockchain-enabled applications for logistics. TNO considers blockchain technology a critical enabler for secure, controlled and scalable data sharing.’

Matthijs Punter

Researcher Data Science & Smart Industry, TNO

‘Blockchain offers the ability to disclose goods, money and information streams simultaneously. As a result, it is possible to realize flexible supply chains and create new business models for the logistical sector.’  


Martijn Siebrand

Program Manager Supply Chain Finance , TKI Dinalog

‘Knowledge of blockchain technology could make the port of Rotterdam smarter and more secure.’ 

Ben van Lier

Director Strategy & Innovation, Centric

This project is part of the Smart Logistics roadmap. For more information about this project or this roadmap, please contact project developer Anique Kuijpers.