Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Parcel X launches blockchain-powered cross-border delivery

Steve Rogerson
November 13, 2018
Parcel X launched a blockchain-powered parcel network in beta version at the end of last month. It claims to be the world's first and only cross-border functional parcel delivery platform that offers ecommerce and delivery service providers several autonomous collaborative services such as real-time sign-in and online interactivity.
Parcel X is a logistics network with an established market in China, South Korea and Japan. It possesses years of experience connecting cross-border ecommerce delivery providers, including 30 global air carriers and 20 national postal system platforms.
According to McKinsey, the Asia-Pacific region is the largest buyer of cross-border goods. Its market value is expected to grow from US$71bn in 2014 to $476bn in 2020. China alone takes 34% of the global parcel volume. Its rising middle class, seeking high-quality and international products, is driving an explosion of e-retailers, logistics providers and delivery brokers with accompanying services.
From 2016 to 2018, the market value for China's cross-border ecommerce is expected to increase from RMB1.01tn to RMB8.8tn. The cross-border parcel deliveries are also expected to soar from 557 million to 928 million with a growth rate of 60%.
China's government has also introduced numerous policies to encourage growth of this industry, with the Ministry of Commerce tallying over 5000 cross-border e-retail platforms and over 200,000 enterprises conducting this business. One Belt One Road and its associated investments, policies and strategic mandates are also driving this industry's growth.
Despite the figures, the ecommerce retailers are still complaining while the delivery service providers are sometimes rendered helpless. In fact, data have revealed that the domestic cross-border ecommerce consumer complaints was 12.98% of the total number of complaints in 2017, increasing 1.37% year-on-year. Among them, logistics shortcoming is one of the more important consumer issues. Parcel delivery problems are as high as 21%.
The aim of Parcel X is to bring these long-standing problems to an end soon. As an third-generation logistics service provider, the cross-border parcel delivery network of Parcel X is based on blockchain technology, which can establish a decentralised, effective cross-border parcel delivery ecosystem to resolve these issues.
The team developed a user-friendly service interface for traditional logistics service providers. From the perspective of the logistics services providers, the collaboration with Parcel X is akin to working with a traditional logistics service, but without additional technical thresholds and complex processes. It can be simpler to access the open Parcel X cross-border parcel collaborative distribution network based on blockchain trust at zero cost, as well as enjoy more efficient service integration, settlement support and fairer service value realisation.
"This system has three main features,” said Guo Shunri, co-founder and CEO of Parcel X. “One is a simple interface – concise code docking and a one-click local deployment (optional) are more than sufficient to participate in the cross-border, parcel delivery joint distribution and network of Parcel X. Second is machine trust. Through the use of smart contracts, core terms of the collaboration such as service details, quality and price are agreed upon securely and digitally; trust need not solely be placed on the traditional, easily-tampered corporate contracts. Third is the settlement in local currencies. Participating logistics service providers will just need to focus on improving their services and collecting their payments locally. They do not have to worry about cross-border supervision and forex risks pertaining to cross-border services."
On this service platform, the sellers (ecommerce retailers) can choose the best service provider, as well as the fastest, most economical delivery route. While lowering their delivery costs, it also guarantees the timeliness and high quality of the delivery services.
In view of the difficulties in tracking the parcels and obtaining timely information during the whole process, Parcel X's cross-border parcel delivery network will connect shippers, logistics service providers, logistics integrators and consumers in an ecosystem, based on trust guaranteed by blockchain and seamless interactions that ensure security, transparency and traceability of delivery package information.
"Therefore, the vision of Parcel X is to build an open, transparent, beneficial and healthy ecosystem," said Parcel X's co-founder and president Yang Mingyi. “The system can incentivise excellent service providers with more parcel orders and corresponding settlement rewards. On the contrary, service providers who do not meet the required service levels will be subject to corresponding penalties. Progressively, Parcel X will naturally eliminate those uncompetitive service providers. So, the good ones remain – service providers who can scale and are cost-effective.”
At the end of October, the team completed the first phase of the beta version of the Parcel X platform. It plans to make updates based on user feedback bi-monthly or monthly. Parcel X has also successfully completed on schedule its ICO on 31 October. Next up, it will launch a series of activities to build and improve the ecosystem, which includes promotions for the popular token sale.
"If this new model can really resolve one or two pain points, it is definitely worth a try," said Cragie Zhou, product leader of HangZhou Winner King Technology, which provides service chains for cross-border ecommerce. “We can even consider to include it as a feature of our services for ecommerce.”
From this month, traditional logistics service providers can log on to the Parcel X platform to perform simple coding on the interface in advance. This platform supports four languages – Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean.
Parcel X has exclusive ownership of ports in China, with overseas warehouses in Japan and South Korea. It uses blockchain technology to harness unused capacity from domestic delivery providers, removing inefficiency, data opacity and high costs from geographically distant nodes.