eTEU is using blockchain technology to digitalise global trade. Their solution focuses on the shipping industry and their product transforms global trade by streamlining the entire shipping process. As a result, eTEU will significantly decrease shipping time and diminish the immense administrative costs which currently suffocate the industry.


eTEU, you are ‘developing a digital solution for freight shipping industry’. Can you tell us a bit about the problem that you’re solving?

Administration and documentation costs are estimated to add up to 20% of the cost of actual shipping of cargo. As well as this, the global shipping market is worth over $1 trillion globally, so inefficient documentation and administration procedures in maritime logistics cost shippers over $200 billion a year. In addition, because the Bill of Lading (the document which proves who the cargo belongs to) is paper-based there is a danger of fraud, the document getting lost or late.

How long has this problem been evident?

Shipping inefficiencies have existed for quite some time, however only with recent developments in technology such as blockchain have they become very evident. Many companies now are looking into digital solutions to provide speed and security of document transfer.

You are looking to disrupt a huge sector – the global shipping industry! How are you ensuring that you are starting small and focusing in on just one element?

Great question! Indeed, the maritime logistics is rather complicated and there are many documents that are delivered with the Bill of Lading, and other documents that support the evidence of container ownership, condition, origin and so on.

We are focusing on the core document itself – the Bill of Lading, without which the container ownership transfer cannot be proven. By starting with this document we will be able to explore what general issues the industry faces and we will be able to grow as a company from there.

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Are you going to try and tackle the big or the small fish (‘scuse the pun) first?

Perhaps we can answer your pun a bit philosophically – we are looking to focus on small-medium enterprises, to avoid being in the position of Aheb chasing Moby Dick. Moreover, they are the ones under a lot of pressure right now due to multiple reasons; firstly, they are struggling to catch up on digitalisation. Secondly, due to their size they are at a disadvantage when competing with providing solutions. Thirdly, some of the solutions that are being developed now come at a high price, which makes it difficult for SMEs to acquire them. Therefore, we are looking to provide an efficient, easy to use, fast and a very secure system, that will not disrupt the workflow during the integration period.

For those who don’t know anything about the shipping industry, what does eTEU mean?

The name is a small game on words – TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent unit, which is the standard capacity of the container used in shipping. The “e” in front stands for “electronic”. Those who we have spoken to within the industry love the name!

Why is it imperative that you use blockchain technology?

In the maritime logistics industry, security plays an extremely important role. The use of blockchain technology would allow us to provide a decentralised platform, where the original version of the document can be transferred easily, quickly and securely, without the danger of fraud or the documents getting lost or being late.

How do you see the next year planning out for eTEU?

The next year looks very busy. We will be further developing our platform to also provide the digital solution of other original copies of documents, piloting our project and working on the development of additional features. We will also be looking actively for potential partners to further expand the reach of our platform.

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What has been the reaction to this product from people from within the shipping industry so far?

From within the industry people have been quite excited to hear about our solution. Especially because the industry is now turning towards digitalisation and realising that it is imminent. We have also received positive feedback on the idea of using blockchain to solve current issues in the industry. Mostly, people in the industry want to stay ahead of their competitors and ride the wave of the digitalisation not to fall behind, and we can help them with this.

Why is now the right time to launch eTEU?

As we have mentioned already quite a few times, the industry is now undergoing big changes. Maritime shipping is an old and frankly speaking outdated industry that has fallen behind in the digital age. Now, the European Union is working on directives to bring the industry to modern times by requiring the companies to move to digital format of documents. This would apply to both companies within the EU and for documents coming from abroad. The growing population is also something to take into account. Amount of good carried by sea is going to quadruple by 2050. Other global developments can also provide an opportunity for eTEU to capture additional value on the market. For example, in case Brexit goes through, the bureaucracy will increase, which would mean that there will also be an increase in demand for digital documents.


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