Maersk and IBM develop TradeLens blockchain shipping solution

TradeLens is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year

Shipping group Maersk reports that 94 companies and organisations have so far joined a blockchain-powered platform, TradeLens, developed with IBM. The two have been working together on this for the last year and have now moved from Beta into limited availability.

The ecosystem currently includes:

  • More than 20 port and terminal operators, including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc, Patrick Terminals, Modern Terminals in Hong Kong, Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, Port of Bilbao, PortConnect, PortBase, and terminal operators Holt Logistics at the Port of Philadelphia, join the global APM Terminals’ network in piloting the solution. This accounts for approximately 234 marine gateways worldwide that have or will be actively participating on TradeLens.
  • Pacific International Lines (PIL) have joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers participating in the solution.
  • Customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are participating, along with customs brokers Ransa and Güler & Dinamik.
  • Participation among beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) has grown to include Torre Blanca/Camposol and Umit Bisiklet.
  • Freight forwarders, transportation and logistics companies including Agility, CEVA Logistics, DAMCO, Kotahi, PLH Trucking Company, Ancotrans and WorldWide Alliance are also currently participating.

 

TradeLens uses IBM blockchain technology as the foundation for digital supply chains, establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments. One example demonstrated how TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by 40%, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost

More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container “gate-in”, and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading.

Traditionally, some of this data can be shared through the EDI systems commonly used in the supply chain industry but these systems are inflexible, complex, and can’t share data in real-time, those involved claim. Too often, companies must still share documents via email attachment, fax and courier. TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and offers an immutable record among all parties involved.

Come together

“We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitising global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on a single factor – bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally,” says Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain.

“Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to form a strong, connected network in which all members gain by sharing important data and that together we can transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted.”

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