A blockchain-enabled shipping solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM is set to become fully commercially available by the end of this year.
More than 90 organisations are now actively involved or have agreed to participate on the TradeLens platform, 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,
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.
The platform enables shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities to interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.
More than 154 million shipping events have already been captured on the TradeLens 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. This data is growing at a rate of close to one million events per day.
Traditionally, some of this data can be shared through the EDI systems commonly used in the supply chain industry but these systems can be inflexible, complex, and can't share data in real-time. Too often, companies must still share documents via email attachment, fax and courier.
According to Mearsk and IBM, TradeLens can track critical data about every shipment in a supply chain, and offers an immutable record among all parties involved.
During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments.
In one example TradeLens reduced the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the US by 40 per cent, saving thousands of dollars. Through better visibility and more efficient means of communicating, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as "where is my container" from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person.
Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, said: "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.
"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."
Mike White, TradeLens leader for Maersk, added: "Our joint collaboration model allows us to better address key feedback from ecosystem participants while ensuring TradeLens interoperability and data protection among Maersk, IBM and all ecosystem participants. We strongly believe this will maximise industry adoption."
"TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitization and transmission of supply chain documents around the world," commented Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals. "This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security. Modern Terminals is pleased to participate as a Network Member in testing this exciting shipping industry innovation."
Christophe Cachat, CIO of CEVA Logistics, said: "As a global logistics provider, CEVA sees a unique opportunity in TradeLens, joining forces with IBM, Maersk and other actors from our industry to promote global standards around an open and neutral solution, delivering on the promise of blockchain. It is an important step in our relentless journey to deliver increased value to all our customers and making business flow.
Posted on: August 13th 2018