Maersk and IBM have launched their blockchain information sharing platform, with 94 organisations including terminal operators and shipping lines taking part in the pilot study.
TradeLens, which is expected to be commercially available by the end of the year, uses blockchain technology to enable transactions without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality and allows parties across the supply chain to interact more efficiently through real-time access to data and documents.
Terminal operators including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI)and Modern Terminals have signed up to the pilot, while Pacific International Lines (PIL) has joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers participating in the solution. Customs authorities and freight forwarders from around the world are also participating.
Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of solutions and blockchain at IBM Global Industries, said: “We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitising global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves US$4t 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.”
TradeLens’ trade document module, ClearWay, allows the various stakeholders in the supply chain to collaborate in cross-organisational business processes and information exchanges and is backed by a ‘secure, non-repudiable audit trail’.
The platform aims to speed-up processes, and during a 12-month trial period which explored delays in the supply-chain, Maersk and IBM found that TradeLens could reduce the transit time of packaging material to a production line in the US by 40% and avoid thousands of dollars in costs.
The number of shipping events, such as arrival times of vessels or custom release documents, is growing at a rate of close to one million a day, and these can be tracked on TradeLends rather than shared via email, for example.
Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals, said: “TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitisation and transmission of supply chain documents around the world.
“This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security.”