Danish transport and logistics major Maersk and American technology giant IBM announced that they have launched their global trading Blockchain-based platform. This new supply-chain platform is called TradeLens and is focused on increasing efficiencies in the shipping industry.
Innovation in Shipping
The shipping industry has seen few innovations since the 1950s, when the first shipping container was invented, and cross-border trading still depends on going through massive amounts of red tape as well as paperwork. And considering that more than $4 trillion worth of goods are shipped annually, of which 80% are via container shipping, this kind of a solution would be a massive change for the industry.
TradeLens is focused on creating an industry-wide trading platform powered by Blockchain technology, which manage as well as track goods by digitizing the entire supply-chain process from end to end. The platform is hoping to significantly reduce the massive paper trail that is currently a part of global container shipping processes.
TradeLens has been developed using IBM’s blockchain platform, which in turn uses the Hyperledger Fabric. This also means that this platform could – in the future – interact with other IBM as well as Hyperledger projects.
According to the VP of global trade at IBM, Todd Scott, all the solutions have been built in such a way that transferring data from one Blockchain to another would be simple. So, for example, TradeLens could get data from IBM Food Trust and vice versa, if their clients wanted to do so.
Adoption of TradeLens
The companies are planning to sell access to their new platform, wherein the selling party can directly contract with the customer and get all the fees as well as revenue without having to share it with the partner. This new model of joint collaboration will allow the companies to take TradeLens to the market faster as well as be more flexible than if they had gone the joint venture route.
The two companies have completed the pilot stage of this project and now TradeLens is available via an early adopter program and the target is to make it commercially available by the end of 2018.
The new platform has already attracted a wide range of enterprises since it was spun off from Maersk in January earlier this year. 94 companies have already signed on to use TradeLens, including port operators in Singapore, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, Australia, Peru and Saudi Arabia. The customs authorities in the Netherlands and container carrier Pacific International Lines (PIL) have also signed on to this project.
According to IBM and Maersk, TradeLens has already captured 154 million shipping events and its database is growing at a rate of 1 million new shipping events per day.