Canada Border Services Agency tests IBM-Maersk blockchain solution

The Canadian border agency wants to make its services more efficient. It currently handles over 58,000 daily commercial releases and hundreds of thousands of other operations that generate $88 million in duty and taxes

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is testing an IBM-Maersk blockchain shipping solution to increase efficiencies in light of growing border activity.

Currently, the CBSA processes a daily average of over 58,600 commercial releases, 14,400 trucks, 240,000 mail items, and 127,400 courier shipments, collecting more than $88 million in duty and taxes.

“Like all global border agencies, the CBSA is constantly striving to increase efficiencies for the increasing number of people and commercial goods passing through Canada’s ports of entry, while upholding national security and public safety priorities,” it says in a press release.


The agency says it is participating in the TradeLens (a blockchain supply chain platform developed by IBM and Maersk) pilot to determine what role it could play in its business processes.

“Ultimately, the goal for the agency is to see if this type of solution can help improve the quality and timeliness of commercial data, increase visibility to cargo movement past the first port of arrival and reduce the number of transactions necessary to make a release decision for shipments,” the press release states.

“This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner,” says CBSA President John Ossowski.

“TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada’s economic output.”

Tracking critical import and export data

TradeLens participants can track critical import and export data in real-time with a secure, non-repudiable audit trail. The platform has been proven to reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the US by as much as 40%, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost.

“We believe blockchain can play an integral role in digitising and reinventing shipping for agencies like the Canada Border Services Agency, who are responsible for moving nearly 500,000 commercial transactions safely across Canadian borders daily,” says IBM Canada President Ayman Antoun.


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