SkyCell and OpenPort have different approaches to the logistics/blockchain challenge. Skycell focuses on air freight and airlines.

In contrast, OpenPort, a Hong-Kong-based platform that uses blockchain technology to transform domestic distribution in emerging markets.

Each represents a different angle on how the logistics and supply chain ‘environment’ is developing.


SkyCell AG is a division of Smart Containers Group. It claims to be the fourth largest container company in air freight and has partnerships with a number of major airlines specializing in pharmaceuticals including CargoLux and Emirates SkyCargo. In 2018 it has started to accept cryptocurrencies for payment, which expedites payment processing times for its services.

Smart Containers Group provides temperature controlled containers to transport sensitive pharma goods and food around the world. Its purpose is to:

  • secure sensitive goods
  • make sure no compromised product is delivered to anyone.

The combination of hardware, software and services combined with blockchain enables SkyCell to offers a service to those clients who value the availability of temperature controlled containers. In this context, SkyCell says its temperature deviation results are some 75 times better than the industry average, with less than 0.1% temperature deviations in 2017.

This addresses one of the unsung inefficiencies of the logistics world. For example, some 8.5% of pharmaceutical goods come to harm during shipping, resulting in unnecessary financial losses. The industry estimates indicate that pharma companies throw away products worth more than $2.5B due soley to ‘temperature excursions’ during transport.


OpenPort offers a digital logistics platform which uses blockchain technology to transform domestic distribution in emerging markets. In mid-February it announced it has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry. Its members include UPS, FedEx, Penske, Schneider National,, Globaltranz, CH Robinson, and SAP.

Max Ward, OpenPort
Max Ward, OpenPort

Commenting on the announcement, OpenPort Founder and CEO Max Ward said: “In developing regions, where the financial resources allocated for the movement of goods can reach as high as 25% of a nation’s annual GDP, paper-based proof of delivery systems delay invoicing, impact working capital and open the door to disputes.

“For emerging markets experiencing economic growth, freight volumes are outstripping the capacity for efficient and cost-effective scaling, raising logistics costs. New technologies such as blockchain proof of delivery and tokenized micro-rewards for supply chain participants provide a clear solution”.

Delivering real-time status updates – from tender through to the delivery stage – OpenPort facilitates lower costs, increased control, and improved cash flow. It already supports many of the world’s largest shippers, including engagements with 7 of the 10 largest multinational FMCGs.

Facilitated by the OpenPort OpenTM (transport management) software and Driver App, an application that:

  • enables truck drivers to use their phones to capture electronic proof of delivery (ePOD)
  • sends shipment data during transport.

OpenPort established its digital ePOD ecosystem in early 2017. This utilises blockchain technology to create an immutable ePOD with an indisputable record of each piece of freight’s history. OpenPort claims it is Asia’s only multinational digital logistics provider. It facilitates direct, transparent relationships among parties in the supply chains of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

What does this mean

Founded in August 2017, BiTA aims to lead, develop and embrace a common framework and establish standards which the logistics industry participants can use to build (in its words) ‘revolutionary applications’. Already it has seen over 250 companies as members.

One might think that BiTA is the be-all and end-all for global logistics to bring its many parties together. Yet the focus by SkyCell on refrigerated air-carried containers, and other initiatives, demonstrates that the logistics/blockchain’s impact penetrates many, many business areas. While few have yet come to full fruition, or adoption, there is a plethora of choice.




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