Olam Orchards Australia has used blockchain and internet of things (IoT) technologies as part of a high-profile experiment to track and trace a shipment of almonds to Germany.

The trial involved the Commonwealth Bank, Pacific National for rail haulage, port landlord Port of Melbourne, stevedore Patrick Terminals and shipping carrier OOCL, as well as Australian IoT provider LX Group.

The 17 tonnes of almonds were successfully shipped and tracked on their journey from Sunraysia in Victoria to Hamburg in Germany.

“Commonwealth Bank demonstrated a new blockchain platform underpinned by distributed ledger technology, smart contracts and IoT to facilitate the trade experiment, tracking the shipment from packer to end delivery in parallel to existing processes,” the bank said in a statement.

The platform digitises three key areas of global trade – operations, documentation and finance – by housing the container information, completion of tasks and shipping documents, on a purpose-built blockchain, the bank said.

“Partners were able to view and track the location of the shipment as well as view the conditions, such as temperature and humidity inside the container, via four IoT devices,” it said.

“This level of data provided partners in the supply chain with a greater level of transparency and efficiency regarding the location, condition and authentication of the goods being transported.

“At the documentation layer, the blockchain-enabled supply chain allows partners to upload and access key documents, such as bill of lading, certificates of origin and other documents required by customs, which streamlined these processes.”

Olam’s supply chain manager Emma Roberts said that trade inefficiency could be “extremely detrimental” to the agricultural company’s business.

“It is vital that as an industry, we look at emerging technology for ways to enhance the supply chain to develop a more transparent and efficient platform,” she said.

“This project has shown that through collaboration from all parts of the supply chain that this can be achieved.”