Northern Promises – Finland Part 3: Shipping!

Helsinki’s blockchain investors and enthusiasts will be hoping that the Helsinki Blockchain Summit this week will clear the waters for the impactful growth of blockchain there. As SkyLedger Media, BrikCoin and ShellPay all make their presence felt in the Finnish capital, we continue to look at the most promising applications for blockchain in the Nordic nation.

The last one is the one that is already being implemented with greatest force: the use of DLT for better data sharing and record keeping in shipping and logistics.

Finland’s location at the top of the Baltic, bordering Russia and Sweden, has made it a regional maritime hub through the centuries. Russian interest in the territory vied with Swedish over time, and the country’s trade links to the East, West and South are are deeply established. The waterway connections to Estonia’s capital of Tallin (currently establishing its credibility as a blockchain hub at a faster rate) are some of the world’s busiest, and we have already seen that influential entrepreneurs have been pushing to enhance the speed of the journey with a tunnel. Land trade routes that extend through Russia all the way to China begin in Helsinki. A Russian controlled section of the Saimaa canal is leased on a longterm basis by Finland to help cope with the East-flowing traffic. The small-sized capital of Helsinki is home to dozens of companies servicing all kinds of logistics and shipping clients, from massive freight to private customers

Blockchain startups around the world have been developing different technological solutions to the inefficiencies that still hamper logistics – fifty years after the world adopted the standardized metallic container.

What’s been happening in Finland? One or two stories stand out, in each of which the Finnish government has played a part. First, the city of Kuovola partnered in 2016 with IBM (which has created a well-publicized logistics collaboration with Danish shipping giant Maersk) to insert tags connected to smart contracts on a blockchain into containers. Kouvola Innovation Ltd, the development agency in charge of the initiative, has been using the data collected to create a sustainable blockchain framework for adding future layers. In the following period the Kuovola hub’s representatives have continued to be bullish on blockchain, updating their community on how the tech could apply to rail and road logistics in future, and how EU-funded initiatives also benefit economic partners in Estonia. Meanwhile the decentralized protocol startup Essentia.one has engaged in two pilot projects this year, focused on employment and internal logistical chains.

Overall, this ambitious line of growth shows Finland most open to blockchain in an area in which the country is determined to keep growing as a world leader.