The Antwerp Port Authority and the Antwerp blockchain start-up T-Mining have developed a solution to make document flows safer and more efficient. Documents, such as certificates of origin and phytosanitary certificates, are transferred via blockchain technology and the document flow is automated by means of so-called “Smart Contracts”. Together with Belfruco, Enzafruit, PortApp, 1-Stop and T&G Global, a specific solution was developed for phytosanitary certificates – which guarantee the safety of fruit and vegetables. With this pilot project, the port of Antwerp confirms its pioneering role in the field of innovation and digitization and actively collaborates on new solutions to further secure our food chain while automating the administrative processes.
During this pilot project, fruit from New Zealand and destined for the European market is provided with digital phytosanitary certificates that are transferred via blockchain technology. Now, the New Zealand exporter will transfer this digital certificate to the Belgian importer, Enzafruit. It transfers it to Belfruco, freight forwarder within the SEA-invest group – which in turn has to transfer these certificates to the Belgian authorities before releasing the cargo of fruit from the SEA-invest terminal.
“Today these paper certificates are sent by courier from New Zealand.” explains Nico De Cauwer, Business Architect Port Community Systems of the Antwerp Port Authority. “This costs a lot of time and money. With the pilot project we can transfer these certificates from New Zealand to Belgium much faster and then transfer them to the competent authorities in Antwerp. In this way, everyone immediately has all the latest information and the necessary preparations and checks can be made faster. On top, Blockchain technology guarantees that the authenticity of the certificates has not been tampered with and we can retrieve the origin of the documents in real time. At the moment we are testing this solution on a small scale, with a limited number of parties. We want to test specific blockchain components, but also the new way of working, which is now fully digital. With the results of this pilot we will see which adjustments are needed to consider a possible further rollout.”