Australian truck and transport insurance company National Transport Insurance (NTI) has revealed that it is partnering with BeefLedger, an Australian blockchain platform on a pilot program that will deploy blockchain technology for end-to-end tracking of Australian beef exports.
Aimed at improving food safety, export security and animal welfare in Australia, the program will use a distributed ledger platform alongside cutting-edge packaging technology and Internet of Things system to create and provide constant real-time data on beef product credentials and supply chain performance.
According to BeefLedger, the goal of the partnership is to utilise technology to create a multi-layered framework for enhanced product security and credentialing, which will no doubt be of key interest to NTI due to the potential for reduced insurance risk. Similar projects have been launched in recent months across the Asia-Pacific region as food safety and credentialing becomes an increasingly important issue.
In September, CCN reported that the Wuchang municipal government in the northeastern Heilongjiang province of China entered a similar blockchain partnership with Ant Financial and Alipay with a view to curbing food fraud and restoring consumer trust in the region's high-quality rice following a series of counterfeiting incidents. In the same month, it was revealed that Alibaba is at work on an anti-food fraud blockchain partnership with global consultancy firm PwC in Australia.
NTI's partnership with BeefLedger will see premium Australian livestock credentialed and transported with real-time location updates from South Australia's Limestone Coast to a processing plant in Casino, New South Wales, before being frozen and exported to its destination market in Shanghai, China.
Expressing optimism about the program's potential to create value, NTI CEO Tony Clark said:
"We’re excited by the prospects this presents across several streams of Australian industry: agriculture, animal welfare, transport and logistics. While it’s early stages, we’re optimistic of the outcomes and learning, and what it potentially means for Australian suppliers, exporters and consumers."
The partnership comes at an important time for the Australian beef industry, which is a key foreign exchange earner for the country's economy, with the country's 45,000 cattle producers cumulatively making it the world's third largest beef exporter behind only India and Brazil.
According to BeefLedger chairman Warwick Powell, the pilot program is particularly important because rising wealth in China has led to a spike in demand for Australian beef, which comes with a risk of food fraud and poor adherence to safety standards.
In his words:
"Research shows us that ethical standards and concerns for animal welfare, along with authenticity and proof of product origin, are amongst the top priorities for Chinese consumers. It’s also what’s driving consumer interest in Australian products."
Featured image from Shutterstock.