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UPS and HerdX track and monitor beef shipment from U.S. to Japan using blockchain technology

Tue, 12 Nov 2019, 12:27 pm UTC

Logistics giant UPS has partnered with agritech company HerdX to deliver blockchain-verified traced beef from a U.S. farm to Japan.

The companies teamed up to develop tracking and traceability technology in order to improve quality assurance for beef products being shipped internationally. The objective is to meet the growing demand of consumers who want to know more about the food they consume.

According to a press release, UPS has developed a customized, integrated visibility tool that plugs into HerdX’s blockchain technology, providing live updates and data points throughout the supply chain.

A shipment of beef from Kansas, wrapped in UPS Temperature True packaging which contained sensors that monitored and recorded the shipment’s temperature from origin to destination, was sent the week of November 4 via air freight. Data sourced via these sensors was uploaded and integrated seamlessly within HerdX’s blockchain verification platform.

The beef was delivered to an urban contemporary steakhouse where guests were provided menu items featuring scannable QR codes containing supply chain information of the beef end-to-end. All non-domestic HerdX products moving forward will now feature similar verification, the release said.

UPS customs brokers coordinated with health, food and safety regulators in both the U.S. and Japan to obtain all required certifications that made the delivery possible.

“Blockchain verification for international air freight shipments is complex and requires a great amount of expertise in customs and freight forwarding. Getting it right has implications for many industries, such as restaurants, food & beverage, and retail,” said Romaine Seguin, President of UPS Global Freight Forwarding. “We’re committed to upholding HerdX’s industry-leading quality assurance and traceability standards for all customers eyeing international growth moving forward.”

The companies said that delivery represents a significant step forward in quality assurance and traceability in the beef industry. This milestone was celebrated at an event attended by U.S. and Japanese embassy officials in Tokyo on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019.

This, however, is not the first attempt to bring blockchain benefits to the beef supply chain. In November 2018, the government of South Korea announced plans to launch a blockchain pilot program for tracking beef throughout its supply chain. In December, National Transport Insurance (NTI), a provider of truck insurance for Australian transport businesses, announced its participation in a blockchain trial aimed at boosting food safety, improving animal welfare and monitoring export security for Australian beef.

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