Rebuilding from COVID, improving food supply resiliency through trade digitization

Trade leaders are looking at more digital systems as industries rebuild from the pandemic.

Accelerating trade digitization could be one way to improve resiliency in the supply chain, according to the Louis Dreyfus Company. Their Chief Commercial Officer, James Zhou states, “During COVID-19, based on our own experience, we have seen the pandemic pose both logistical and operational challenges across the food supply chain, and this environment underlined the importance of using technology for the resilience of the global trade flow.”

Zhou says that the company was first in the industry to pilot blockchain technology on a soybean shipment from the United States to China.

“Which was a very successful demonstration on how we can use the technology to support the trade by improving efficiency, to ensure the transparency, as well as the authenticity of the trade flows, to increase the speed, and also to make sure the integrity of the trades,” he states.

Blockchain technology is a form of digital record keeping, creating a unique log of transactions and shipping information that can help track cargo and ensure all data is accurate. The pilot program grew into a joint initiative with industrial peers to update the shipping system.

“To modernize the agri-commodity trade operation, the whole industry-wide, by utilizing blockchain technology to connect the major players along the value chain, the shippers, traders, and Charterers,” he adds. “We believe over time this can expand to include almost all the players from the farmers to the consumers.”

In February, the company launched a blockchain system for bulk commodities including corn and soybeans.

He goes on to say, “In the coming months Covantis SMA will work to enlarge the network by onboarding more participants and more industry players so that all along the value chain will have opportunities.”

Louis Dreyfus operates in more than 100 countries and ships 80 million metric tons of agricultural products each year.

Zhou says that they plan to continue investing in data sciences including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and robotic automation.