Unionbank rolls out blockchain-based logistics platform

By Ram Agustin

Unionbank subsidiary UBX and Shiptek Solutions Corp.  unveiled on Wednesday, May 22, a blockchain-powered platform called XLOG in an attempt to “change how logistics operate.”

UnionBank head of platform development group Ramon Duarte

The GPS and cloud-based platform enables businesses to acquire their logistics needs in a much more streamlined way from the customs broker and trucking phases, up to the warehouse level. Monitoring the status of deliveries will also be a more reliable experience for the shipping and logistics provider, as well as their micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) clients.

“You might be asking, if it’s a logistics system, why is a bank investing in it. The answer to that is very simple. It’s embedded banking. Embedded banking is when the banking functions as part of another experience,” said UnionBank head of platform development group Ramon Duarte.

Duarte also noted that his favorite example of embedded banking is displayed in the Uber experience where the financial transaction happens electronically and the user simply rides the hailed service, travels to the designated destination, and leaves the car.

“Corporations are demanding the same kind of delightful and friction-free experiences from their trading partners, suppliers, and customers. Here at Unionbank, together with Shiptek, we see an opportunity here to bring our capabilities together to offer a completely new improved experience in business by providing access to an advanced platform like XLOG, which addresses their logistics requirement and at the same time has the banking bits already built in,” he said.

Duarte also revealed that Unionbank is adamant at looking for opportunities in other industries as well, even in education and healthcare. But he firmly believes that logistics is an important aspect because it is a key stage in the whole supply chain process that happens between corporates, their suppliers, and their customers.

“Wherever it is that there’s logistics activity, there is likely to be the financial transaction as well. Unionbank has long been providing solutions in this space. We have been providing collections, disbursements, and financing solutions that loosely link those activities,” he added.

UnionBank president and CEO Edwin R. Bautista

Edwin R. Bautista, president and CEO of UnionBank, said the bank has been trying to consult people all over the world on what kind of things one should look for when investing in a fintech.

According to Bautista, the main considerations should include the soundness of the technology, the existence of a problem that needed solving and has the potential to disrupt the industry, scalability, and the commitment of the proponent.

“The most successful people who are disrupting industries are people who themselves are in that industry. Because who else would know how to disrupt themselves but those who are inside the industry. Most of the people are from the outside, they don’t know the nuances,” he explained.

“The reason why we believe this is going to work, is because we’re in this for a higher purpose. Beyond the money, the higher purpose is we’re committed to help ‘TechUp’ the Philippines. This is a software platform that’s proudly made in the Philippines for Filipinos and for the world. I think we should all be proud of it,” Bautista remarked.

During last year’s Singapore Fintech Festival, Unionbank revealed their TechUp Pilipinas initiative and XLOG is one of their ways to realize the concept, especially considering the number of 52.8 million unbanked Filipinos.

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