IBM, Maersk unveil blockchain shipping platform; over 90 businesses participate
Tech giant IBM and shipping conglomerate Maersk have jointly launched TradeLens – a blockchain-enabled shipping platform that allows more efficient and secure global trade. According to a joint statement on Thursday, 94 companies are either actively involved or have agreed to participate on the TradeLens platform.
Some of these participants include port operators PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services and Hong Kong-based Modern Terminals.
Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru have also participated on the platform. Among other participants, logistics companies such as Agility, CEVA Logistics and DAMCO are also part of the TradeLens ecosystem.
“We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain.
How does TradeLens work?
In the TradeLens platform, IBM’s blockchain technology allows for a single shared view of a transaction without compromising privacy or confidentiality.
Various stages in shipping are easier to track using the platform, as a result of real-time access to shipping data ad documents, including IoT and sensor data. The platform uses blockchain smart contracts to facilitate digital collaboration across all levels of trade.
TradeLens was launched after a 12 month comprehensive trial, wherein IBM and Maersk worked with a number of partners to figure out ways to prevent delays in shipping due to documentation errors, information delay and other hurdles.
“This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security,” said Peter Levesque, CEO of Hong Kong-based container terminal operators Modern Terminals.
TradeLens to be available by year-end
For now, the TradeLens platform is only available through an Early Adopter Program. The platform is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year, the companies said in a statement.
The announcement added that standards discussions are ongoing with openshipping.org, a collaboration of digital innovators in shipping focused on establishing open source standards for global container shipping.
The companies are also working to align the TradeLens APIs with UN/CEFACT standards. UN/CEFACT is the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, tasked with promoting simple, transparent and effective processes for global commerce.
Image via Shutterstock
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