IBM, Maersk Roll Out Blockchain-Based Shipping Platform


TradeLens was jointly developed by the two companies to apply blockchain to the world’s global supply chain.

Maersk and IBM followed their January announcement with the news about their latest creation: TradeLens. This blockchain-based shipping platform brings technology to the world’s global supply chain.

The platform uses blockchain as a digital supply chain foundation. It establishes a secure, private single shared view of transactions. Its overall goal? To use real-time access to shipping documents and data like IoT and sensor information for enhancing communication.

It promotes improved efficiency and security for global trade by encouraging information sharing, innovation, and transparency among partners that include:

  • Shippers
  • Shipping lines
  • Freight forwarders
  • Port and terminal operators
  • Inland transportation
  • Customs authorities

See also: SAP links supply chain with its logistics network plans

Key Features

TradeLens features a trade document module called ClearWay. This module gives importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs, other government agencies, and NGOs tools needed to collaborate in cross-organizational business and information exchanges. Its blockchain technology provides a secure, accurate and tamper-proof audit trail.

TradeLens claims it can reduce transit times up to 40%. The platform has already captured over 150 million shipping events, including arrival times, customs releases, invoices, and bills of lading. The data has continued to grow at a rate of nearly one million events per day.

“We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing 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, SVP, 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,” she says.

The TradeLens solution is available today through the Early Adopter Program and is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.

Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

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