IBM, Maersk Roll Out Blockchain-Based Shipping Platform

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Container Ship

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

Maersk and IBM followed up their January announcement with the news they’ve created TradeLens, a blockchain-based shipping platform designed to bring the technology to the world’s global supply chain. It’s designed to promote improved efficiency and security for global trade by bringing together various partners for information sharing, innovation, and transparency.

TradeLens uses blockchain as a digital supply chain foundation, establishing a single shared view of a transaction while keeping privacy and confidentiality secure. It’s meant for use by shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities, who can achieve improved communication through real-time access to shipping documents and data including IoT and sensor info.

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

“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,” said 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,” she added.

TradeLens features a trade document module called ClearWay that 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 with blockchain providing a secure, accurate and tamper-proof audit trail.

TradeLens claims to be able to reduce transit times by up to 40%. Over 150 million shipping events have already been captured on the platform, including arrival times, customs releases, invoices, and bills of lading. The data continues to grow at a rate of nearly one million events per day.

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 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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