Blockchain gets on track with BNSF Rail

Blockchain gets on track with BNSF Rail

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Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF)You could say blockchain is getting on track with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF), as North America’s second-largest railway joins the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA).


Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, the railroad’s parent company is a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway. With 44,000 employees, 32,500 miles of track in 28 states, and more than 8,000 locomotives, the company’s roots date back to 1849.


“Blockchain technology has the potential to change several aspects of the transportation industry and it is important that the industry comes together to align around a set of standards,” said Muru Murugappan, BNSF vice president of technology services and chief information officer.


BNSF is a good example of a legacy company that can benefit in a big way from blockchain technology.


Benefits of blockchain


Research from Deloitte, estimates 10% of global GDP will be built on top of blockchain applications. In the $8 trillion transportation industry, there’s a lot of potential for blockchain benefits.


Paul Brody, Global Innovation Leader of Blockchain for EY, asks five questions when assessing blockchain business potential:

-Are you trying to get multiple parties to work together?

-Do you have trust issues between the parties?  Examples are payments, royalties, or purchase orders.

-Is it important to get tamper-proof records of transactions between parties?

-Are you moving something of finite value around?

-Do the groups benefit from increased transparency?


Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA)

BiTA says it is working on new technologies and standards for what data goes into the transportation blockchain, how the data is formatted, how the data is structured, and in what cases the blockchain can be used to reduce costs, increase efficiency, enhance security and improve transportation industry standards.


Among the potential blockchain business use cases for the transport industry are:

-Performance history – including vehicle maintenance and quality assurance

-Dynamic optimization – capacity monitoring

-Payments and pricing – fraud detection and theft prevention.



Founded in Aug 2017, BiTA now has more than 200 members in every sector of the transportation industry including railways, airlines, shipping, trucking, freight carriers, automotive, courier, software, logistics management, global consultants and professional service companies.