Abu Dhabi Ports launches blockchain platform for imports and exports
Maqta Gateway, an Abu Dhabi Ports subsidiary, is the first A...
Abu Dhabi Ports has launched a new blockchain platform to be used by the trade community.
Maqta Gateway, an Abu Dhabi Ports subsidiary, is the first Abu Dhabi entity to develop and launch its own blockchain technology - Silsal.
Silsal will combine blockchain technology and unique digital user identities to provide a seamless and secure link between stakeholders across the trade community.
The technology has been developed 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 20% of the total physical transportation costs, amounting to $1trn addition to global trade.
Abu Dhabi ports said that, 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.
This project was developed internally in the Digital Innovation Lab and has been field tested with Abu Dhabi Ports’ strategic customers.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO Abu Dhabi Ports, commented on the occasion, saying: “At Abu Dhabi Ports we strive to invest in cutting-edge technological innovations that not only bring immense benefits to the trade community but also play 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.”
Dr. Noura Al Dhaheri, CEO of Maqta Gateway, said: “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.
“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 but not limited to the Bill of Lading, Delivery Oder, Booking and Transport Orders, etc., improving the communication flow and the efficiency of the physical movement of the goods, through a transparent, secure and easy to use process.
Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry
Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.
Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off?
How Will Japan Pay For It?
Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving.
According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option.
What Do They Plan To Do?
Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’.
As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’.
Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.