Can NFTs be of Benefit to Transport Companies?

A stack of boxes, a forklift transporting good and a plane in the background

When it comes to emerging technologies, there is a skill in determining which has longevity and which can provide tangible benefits to your business. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been making headlines recently for their appeal to consumers, primarily the art world and digital collectables.

They have proven to have relative staying power, but can they be adapted to more industrialised industries, such as transport? The short answer is yes. Many transport companies, including big players such as Maersk, already use blockchain in their supply chains.

In this article, we’ll explore how NFTs are being implemented across supply-chain transport, and how the benefits could be replicated regarding commuter options.

A Transparent Chain

One of the most obvious cases for use is supply chain management. NFTs can track the movement of various goods through the supply chain, providing transparency and accountability at all stages.

The NFT could be created at the point of origin, for the shipment of goods, with consignment information including the drop-off point, destination, and location.

All relevant stakeholders involved in the shipment could then easily access this information, including the owner, transport company, and recipient. This approach could significantly improve efficiency and reduce the risk of fraud or errors.

Maintenance Efficiency

Another potential use for NFTs is in maintenance. The technology can track the service history of any vehicle, from cars to trains to planes, with the log including information such as when it was last serviced, the repairs made, and whom they were performed by.

This bundle of information could then be easily accessed by the team responsible for the vehicle, as well as potential future buyers, providing transparency and potentially increasing resale value or longevity due to accurate maintenance.

Ownership Rights

When it does come time to sell assets, NFTs can also play a role in ensuring the smooth transfer of ownership of trucks, buses or even trains, making it easier to manage and track asset ownership.

This may seem simple; when an asset sale is made via an NFT exchange, the new owner will be recorded on the blockchain to provide a fixed transfer record. However, with the option to also go ‘off-chain,’ there are additional considerations.

For instance, there is an assumption that the seller would record the transaction on the blockchain, simply by sending the NFT to the buyer’s wallet. However, it is possible to transfer titles to an NFT without the record updating on the blockchain.

There is currently no legal requirement to do so, and therefore it comes down to buyers being savvy about their purchases and transfers – in the future, this can become standard practice, even an automatic process, but for the time being, there is still an element of human oversight involved.

Working for Consumers

Taking all the considerations raised above, what can we learn about using NFTs for the consumer side of transport? An obvious example is a consumer looking to complete a journey using multiple tickets, either as a cost-cutting exercise or simply due to the destinations they want to travel between.

An NFT can provide a seamless package of information from various sources for the traveller, ensuring they can complete their journey even when it involves different train operators.

While existing IT infrastructure can store and relay the information I’ve highlighted in this article, when it comes to driving efficiencies and embracing new technology, NFTs have the potential to deliver a more succinct solution, bringing greater transparency, efficiency and accountability to transport and other industries.

What are your predictions for how NFTs will continue to grow in 2023 and provide value to businesses? Comment with your thoughts below.

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