Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Abu Dhabi Ports develops own blockchain technology

Steve Rogerson
June 19, 2018



Maqta Gateway, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports, has developed and launched its own blockchain technology. Called Silsal, it will combine blockchain technology and digital user identities to provide a seamless and secure link between stakeholders across the trade community.
 
Blockchain technology acts as an open digital ledger that can be used by trade actors to record and extract details regarding transactions with greater security, transparency and efficiency.
 
Silsal was conceived to address the gap in the market for exporters and importers, to provide easy and public access to transaction status updates, reduce the need for paperwork, calls and physical visits as well as to speed up information exchange overall. Initially, the technology will be offered to freight forwarders and their customers, and subsequently extended to the rest of the trade community as a complementary tool to the existing MPCS, Maqta’s port community system.
 
As the shipping and logistics industry rapidly adopts new technologies, blockchain can offer trade community members significant benefits. According to the World Economic Forum, potential savings range from a fifth of the total physical transportation costs, amounting to $1tn addition to global trade.
 
In addition, the use of blockchain in the shipping and trade industry will enable real-time tracking of its cargo and documents, time savings, and smoothening of shipments between countries and continents.
 
“Our leadership has always been a great supporter of Abu Dhabi Ports and has shown great keenness in continuously encouraging institutions and individuals to take the initiative to contribute to the country's economic and social development and build a diversified and sustainable economy based on innovation,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports. “We are delighted to announce the launch of the first home-grown blockchain technology in Abu Dhabi through Silsal service, which was developed using local resources and capabilities to provide advanced services to all users.”
 
He said Abu Dhabi Ports strived to invest in cutting-edge technological innovations that not only brought benefits to the trade community but also played a role in the transformation of the UAE to a knowledge-based, competitive economy.
 
“This achievement will help to further augment Abu Dhabi’s position as a centre for innovation in logistics and trade,” he said.
 
This project was developed internally in the Digital Innovation Lab without external partners, and has been field tested with Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategic customers.
 
“Technology is a crucial driver for the future of the shipping, logistics and trade industry and blockchain is a key step in the digitalisation of trade,” said Noura Al Dhaheri, CEO of Maqta Gateway. “Through Silsal we will be offering the trade community secure and integrated access to blockchain technology, with the added value of cost and time savings through real-time track and trace, reduction in paperwork and ease in extracting vital information to receive live updates. Not only have we introduced our own blockchain offering, but we have also invented our own form of digital identity. This will eliminate the need for access through passwords which can often be a security risk.”
 
As a result of the in-house developed digital identity, Maqta Gateway will be able to encrypt all transport documentation, including the bill of lading, delivery order, booking orders and transport orders, thus improving the communications flow and the efficiency of the physical movement of the goods, through a transparent, secure and easy to use process.
 
Maqta Gateway, inaugurated in October 2017, is a project that has set out to re-define Abu Dhabi’s trade services, processes and information exchange through a unified interface that connects various trade customers, including shipping agents, traders, custom brokers, freight forwarders and clearing agents, with entities integrated within the system locally and internationally.