Are outdated courier systems hampering cross border trade?

Cross-border package delivery systems are an important tool of trade. People all over the world rely on these systems to move various goods from one place to another, locally and across borders.

In China alone, cross-border transactions are estimated to reach $1.32 trillion in 2018. As the amount of cross-border trade grows, it is important that the courier industry is able to grow with it. However, the current methods being employed by courier companies are outdated, hampering the industry’s ability to keep up.

As it stands, each different courier service runs on its own independent system meaning that there is no universal communication method between them. This can result in miscommunication as packages end up being delayed or go missing, which is incredibly frustrating for the buyer. This use of independent systems also results in a lack of trust: if a courier is unable to trust a section of its chain, it will need to reweigh and relabel a package when it arrives at a new destination. This adds to the cost of shipping a package which is then passed on to the customer.

Also contributing to higher fees are the methods a courier processes and handles packages. Because courier services also rely upon faxes, phone calls, handwritten bills, and locally stored spreadsheets to store information, it means that their processes are prone to human error. Not only can this exacerbate existing problems in the chain (e.g. the lack of communication) and lead to more misplaced packages, but it is also costly and inefficient, adding to the fees that customers have to pay. The use of third-party verification services to properly process payments means that when customers do pay, they are having to pay additional, unnecessary fees on top of this.

Unfortunately, for all of the cost involved, there is little insurance if anything is to go wrong. If a delivery does not proceed as planned or, for example, a package is lost or broken, the expense lands on the customer. They will either have to pay for a replacement or miss out altogether. There is no accountability and no safety net.

In this age of mass international trade and e-commerce, these issues are unacceptable. Shoppers are unhappy with the existing system and in order to address their needs and allow the cross-border trade industry to continue to flourish, we must work on a solution.

On May 2nd, 2018, a partnership between ParcelX, a cross-border parcel delivery company based in China, Korea, and Japan, and Metaverse, an open-source blockchain-as-a-service with asset digitization and digital identity capabilities, was announced. The agreement will see the companies work closely together to establish the world’s first global, cross-border parcel delivery network using blockchain technology.

By using the unique features of blockchain technology, ParcelX and Metaverse can offer a much-needed solution to the challenges faced by the cross-border package delivery industry.

The transparent nature of the blockchain offers users the luxury of being able to see the progress as their package is transported. Tracking packages via a blockchain powered system would give users more confidence and allow them to place more trust in their couriers. The blockchain also does away with the need for a number of third parties to verify different parts of the process, making the entire process more affordable and removing the extra costs forced onto customers.

By using the decentralized databases made possible with blockchain technology, there can be a seamless exchange of information between couriers based in different countries and using different systems. Information can be added to the blockchain by any relevant party and everyone on the blockchain can view it immediately. The information entered into this database would be unalterable. Not only does this reduce the risk of the courier system being hacked, but it will also reduce the risk of human error too (e.g., an employee accidentally deleting important information).

ParcelX will onboard Metaverse as their first dapp on the Global ParcelX Network, and will fully utilize Metaverse’s expertise in self-sovereign digital identity on the platform. At the same time, Metaverse will open its powerful platform to ParcelX in order to deeply customize and streamline its service offerings.

The cross-border package delivery industry needs solutions to its current challenges and the partnership between ParcelX and Metaverse is the first step in making those happen.