Members of the Ocean Alliance and Yang Ming along with DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) and CargoSmart have agreed to form a consortium to develop an open digital platform based on blockchain technology.
The platform, named the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), aims to establish a digital baseline connecting stakeholders including carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies, shippers, and logistics service providers to enable collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain.
The announcement follows Maersk and IBM’s recent launch of TradeLens – another blockchain-based platform aiming to simplify the flow of information and documentation throughout the supply chain.
The consortium behind GSBN will offer a forum to address industry challenges such as siloed shipment management procedures and disruptive information gaps.
Its leading members intend to collaboratively develop the platform and establish standards to facilitate the seamless sharing of documents and data across all stages of the shipping lifecycle.
Ivor Chow, director of corporate finance and business development of Hutchison Ports, said that the operator “recognises the potential of blockchain technology to be the key game changer with far-reaching impact on global supply chains, bringing immense benefits to all aspects of operations and end-to-end visibility throughout the entire supply chain.”
“This collaboration brings together major industry players who strive to develop an open digital platform that will deliver efficiency gains and reduce costs of transactions,” he added.
Initially, the plan is to offer new applications to reform document processes of shipping management, including documents related to hazardous cargo, invoicing and cargo release.
The first prototype will be available in December 2018 and allow shippers to digitise and organise their dangerous goods documents and proceed to automatically exchange data with relevant parties in the supply chain to streamline the approval process.
According to CargoSmart, the GSBN will offer a cooperative network that allows enables members to develop applications and connect to other consortium networks to increase the speed of data integration and improve business performance.
Peer-to-peer networking will allow data owners to share immutable records to other shipment stakeholders, enabling them to take quick action regarding critical milestones and to keep cargo moving throughout the supply chain.
Yan Jun, president of SIPG, said: “The GSBN blockchain consortium has the potential to enable faster, more accurate processing of cargo information and more transparency of terminal operations to cargo owners.”
CargoSmart initiated the formation of the blockchain consortium to revolutionise information exchange in the shipping industry, building upon 18 years of experience providing solutions that connect carriers, terminals, shippers, and forwarders.