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Dubai Customs Launches Blockchain Platform Amid Smart City Effort

ByDayne Lee

Jul 11, 2024

Dubai Customs Launches Blockchain Platform Amid Smart City Effort

Dubai Customs has announced the launch of a new blockchain platform designed to reduce supply chain friction within Dubai and across its borders.

Strategic Initiative for a Smart City

The blockchain solution was introduced as part of a broader strategy to cement Dubai’s position as a leading “smart” city, according to a statement by the Dubai Media Office on July 8. Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation, highlighted the innovation as a reflection of Dubai’s vision to become a global hub for trade and logistics.

“This innovation reflects our vision to make Dubai a global hub for trade and logistics,” said bin Sulayem. “We believe that adopting modern technologies like blockchain will significantly contribute to improving the business environment and enhancing Dubai’s position as a major center for global trade.”

Bin Sulayem emphasized that the blockchain solution aims to cut time and effort by simplifying various procedures to expedite customs clearance and commercial transactions. The platform will also improve supply chain transparency by facilitating tamper-proof data sharing and reducing the extensive paperwork typically involved in these processes.

“The goal is to make the business environment in Dubai smoother, more streamlined, and transparent,” added Dr. Abdullah Busnad, Director General of Dubai Customs.

The Promise and Challenges of Blockchain in Supply Chains

Blockchains have long been touted as a solution for tracking the real-time movement of items in supply chains and combating fraud and counterfeiting. However, there are still hurdles to mass adoption. For instance, a promising blockchain supply chain platform from IBM was discontinued in November 2022 due to a lack of “global industry collaboration,” as stated by IBM and its partner, Danish logistics firm Maersk.

Despite these challenges, many blockchain platforms continue to operate and innovate in the supply chain sector. Some notable examples include:

  • VeChain: Launched in 2016, VeChain is a smart contract-compatible blockchain used for supply-chain tracking.
  • Chainlink: Since its launch in 2019, Chainlink has been used for supply-chain automation.
  • Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN): Based in Hong Kong, GSBN has become a notable player in the blockchain supply chain space.

Previous Blockchain Initiatives by Dubai Customs

Dubai Customs has been proactive in adopting blockchain technology. In January 2020, they launched a blockchain-based platform to facilitate cross-border e-commerce, further demonstrating their commitment to leveraging modern technology to enhance trade efficiency.

PlatformLaunch YearKey FeaturesNotable Use Cases
VeChain2016Smart contract compatibility, supply-chain trackingReal-time item tracking, fraud prevention
Chainlink2019Supply-chain automation, decentralized oraclesAutomating supply-chain processes
Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN)Blockchain for global shipping and logisticsEnhancing transparency in shipping
Dubai Customs Blockchain Platform2020Cross-border e-commerce facilitation, customs clearanceReducing paperwork, speeding up transactions

Experts in the field have varying opinions on the potential and challenges of blockchain adoption in supply chains. Some believe that blockchain technology can revolutionize supply chain management by providing enhanced transparency and efficiency. Others point out the need for industry-wide collaboration and the integration of different blockchain platforms to achieve these benefits.

  • Pro-Blockchain View: Advocates argue that blockchain technology is crucial for improving supply chain transparency and efficiency, combating fraud, and streamlining processes.
  • Challenges: Critics highlight the need for global industry collaboration and the integration of multiple blockchain platforms to overcome adoption hurdles.

Dubai Customs’ launch of a new blockchain platform is a significant step towards reducing supply chain friction and enhancing transparency within Dubai and beyond. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to establish Dubai as a leading smart city and a global hub for trade and logistics. While challenges remain in the mass adoption of blockchain technology, the continuous efforts and innovations by platforms like VeChain, Chainlink, and GSBN demonstrate the potential for blockchain to revolutionize supply chain management.

Featured image credit: Alan Hafiluddin via Vecteezy

Dayne Lee

With a foundation in financial day trading, I transitioned to my current role as an editor, where I prioritize accuracy and reader engagement in our content. I excel in collaborating with writers to ensure top-quality news coverage. This shift from finance to journalism has been both challenging and rewarding, driving my commitment to editorial excellence.

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