Félix Solís Avantis has completed a test shipment using blockchain technology, as it looks to cut through Brexit-related red tape and speed up wine exports to the UK.
The company collaborated with blockchain company Chainvine as well as Fujitsu UK & Ireland to test and develop a new solution, called Atamai Freight.
Through the use of QR codes on trucks and containers that transport the wine, the initiative intends to create “an ecosystem of trust” that allows different government agencies, customers, producers and consumers to access the key information needed through a secure platform.
“With this new technology, export times in Spanish wines could be reduced by 25%, helping to reduce the increase that Brexit has meant in the working capital of the total Spanish supply chain by 30 million euros per week,” explained Richard Cochrane, managing director Felix Solis UK. “The potential to automate the export declaration process will help save an additional million euros per year. The commercial cost of Brexit has a direct impact on both UK consumers and Spanish producers, so it is worth exploring new methods of reducing export costs, given the wider inflation of the food industry,” Cochrane added.
The test shipment went from the main winery of Félix Solís in Valdepeñas to the Tesco distribution centre in the UK. During the journey, it was possible to monitor the cargo from the pick-up point to the destination, the geolocation of the shipment was shared with each party and the electronic seal also provided a secure seal that transmitted the location and time to all parties if the seal was forcibly cut or removed at any point. All shipping documents are transported electronically via the access QR code along with the data to allow entry into the UK.
After this first test, Cochrane (pictured below, left) held a meeting with the UK minister of state, Baroness Neville-Rolfe (pictured centre), as well as Oliver Oram, the CEO of Chainvine (pictured right), and Ian Clark, Fujitsu UK & Ireland’s chief digital officer for customs and trade.
The company said the next steps potentially include scaling up the tests and creating incentives for industry to actively participate, including possible green lanes at the port.
According to the company, the UK wine industry has seen import costs rise sharply, along with the need to increase working capital, adding an estimated £300m per week.
“These ‘Brexit costs’, combined with the increased duty costs from August 2023, at over £440m per annum, are placing severe financial stresses on the UK wine industry and are costing British consumers more through rising prices, reflecting the wider UK food inflation in February at 18.2%,” the company said.