UPS utilises blockchain for beef shipment project

By Damian Brett

Express firm UPS has teamed up with US-based agri-tech solutions provider HerdX to utilise blockchain to track and trace a shipment of beef being flown from the US to Japan.

UPS and HerdX collaborated to develop a track and trace technology that utilises blockchain to improve “quality assurance for beef products being shipped internationally” by monitoring the temperature and location of the product as it is transported.

The express firm explained that the shipment of beef left Kansas the week of November 4 wrapped in UPS temperature-controlled packaging containing sensors that monitored and recorded the shipment’s temperature from origin to destination.

Data sourced via the devices was uploaded into HerdX’s blockchain verification platform.

The beef arrived via airfreight to an “urban contemporary steakhouse” where invited guests were provided menu items featuring scannable QR codes containing tracking information detailing the journey of the beef they were to consume. All non-domestic HerdX products moving forward will now feature similar verification.

“As consumers demand to know more about the food they consume, the market for traceability and verification tools has increased,” UPS said. “Technology companies, government agencies and academic institutions have been working to standardise the process, but no known global standard exists to date.”

Romaine Seguin, president of UPS Global Freight Forwarding, added: “Blockchain verification for international airfreight shipments is complex and requires a great amount of expertise in customs and freight forwarding. Getting it right has implications for many industries, such as restaurants, food and beverage, and retail.

“We’re committed to upholding HerdX’s industry-leading quality assurance and traceability standards for all customers eyeing international growth moving forward.”

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