Using NFTs and Blockchain for Traceability and Auctioning of Shipping Containers and Cargo in Maritime Industry

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13 Scopus citations


The maritime industry is a complex multi-tiered sector that plays a major role in international shipping and trade. Seaborne transportation is responsible for 90% of goods moved globally, and containerized shipments account for more than 50% of those goods. This volume of movement requires efficient tracking and traceability methods that secure the documentation process and ensure the involved stakeholders. However, due to its complexity, the maritime industry suffers from a lack of trust, lack of ownership evidence, protracted documentation procedures, and excessive data aggregation. These shortcomings are reflected in delays and elevated costs in the shipping process. To mitigate these problems, we propose in this paper a blockchain-based solution for the ownership history and traceability of shipping containers in the industry. Our solution utilizes smart contracts and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain to accelerate the inefficient shipping process by digitizing ownership transfer and process documentation. Furthermore, the proposed system allows the owners to auction off their cargo in the destination ports, freeing warehouses and containers in the process. We analyze our proposed system in terms of transaction costs and smart contract security. The smart contracts are developed using the Solidity language in the Remix IDE and the code is made publicly available on GitHub.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)124507-124522
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2022


  • auctioning
  • Blockchain
  • Ethereum
  • maritime shipping
  • NFTs
  • shipping containers
  • supply chain


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