Blockchain at the border

Infusing trust and traceability into the trade and traveller ecosystem, blockchain offers more efficient, secure and cost-effective ways to manage the complexity of processes, procedures and information in multi-stakeholder environments.

We’ve identified four key applications of blockchain:

Path finder

Track, trace and monitor every transaction and movement of travellers, goods and containers along the supply chain or journey.

Proof of identity

Bridge the trust gap by digitally verifying the identity of goods, people or companies involved in cross-border movements.

Border collaboration

Ease intra and inter government collaboration by integrating processes and enabling secure sharing of relevant data, orchestrated by blockchain.

Asset transfer

Blockchain embedded with business rules to automate and secure correct transfer of goods, money and entitlements between stakeholders.

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Applied benefits of blockchain

Vessels save processing time at their destination as their estimated arrival time is accurately and automatically documented. They also avoid the need to carry detailed paperwork as verification of the goods on board is captured digitally ahead of time and their integrity is secured.

In preparation for goods arriving at the border customs officials can digitally verify details such as origin, physical characteristics, licensing, authenticity, destination and journey. The blockchain helps quickly and securely process legitimate trade whilst identifying suspicious traders, illegitimate trade and fraudulent practices. Sensitive or specialist goods can be quickly flagged to ensure correct handling and appropriate transport. No more paperwork holding up arrivals.

Citizens easily order goods safe in the knowledge that only a legitimate product will pass customs and their digital payment will be handled securely. The blockchain supports end-to-end tracking of the journey a package takes.

Traders can digitally verify origin, status and the financing of a shipment before releasing final payment. They can also easily and securely process simultaneous transfer of payment in exchange for ownership. With the additional Internet of Things, traders and customs officials can track the entire supply chain journey to monitor appropriate and safe handling (e.g. correct temperature in vessel, no unapproved access.)

Travellers and immigration officials will experience faster, seamless processing when crossing international borders. Travellers and undocumented refugees can grant access to their digital identities and visa verification on the blockchain. Governments can also securely access information on incoming foreign arrivals ahead of time.

About the Authors

James Canham

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Global Border Services

Jorien Kerstens

Senior Manager – Consulting, Public Service, Border Services

Alexander de Voet

Senior Manager – Consulting, Border Services Lead

Melissa Waldron

Managing Director – Health & Public Service, Australia


The new border agency
Blockchain’s potential starts with security

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