Since this post was published, A.P. Moller-Maersk and IBM have announced the creation of TradeLens, jointly developed by the two companies to apply blockchain to the global supply chain. For more information, please go to www.tradelens.com, follow the TradeLens blog and the TradeLens LinkedIn page.
A global trade platform using blockchain technology aimed at improving the cost of transportation, lack of visibility and inefficiencies with paper-based processes
In January 2018, Maersk and IBM announced the intention to establish a new blockchain platform to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology. The new company aims at bringing the industry together on an open blockchain platform that offers a suite of digital products and integration services.
The platform is currently being tested by a number of selected partners who all have interest in developing smarter processes for trade. As we incorporate learnings and continue to expand the network, a fully open platform whereby all players in the global supply chain can participate and extract value is expected to become available.
The cost of global trade is estimated at $1.8 trillion annually1 with potential savings from more efficient process of ~10 percent. The cost and size of the world’s trading ecosystems continues to grow in complexity.
The case for a better way
About the platform
It is about reducing global trade barriers and increasing efficiency across international supply chains, and bringing to market a trade platform for containerized shipping — connecting the entire supply chain ecosystem.
The platform is being built on an open technology stack and is underpinned by blockchain technology. The two main capabilities at launch will address current visibility and documentation challenges.
A shipping information pipeline
Provide end-to-end supply chain visibility that enables all actors involved in a global shipping transaction to securely and seamlessly exchange shipment events in real time.
Digitize and automate paperwork filings for the import and export of goods by enabling end users to securely submit, stamp and approve documents across national and organizational boundaries.
Potential benefits using the platform
The objective of the platform is to connect and provide benefits to the supply chain ecosystem. A global network of interconnected shipping corridors linking the ports and terminals, customs authorities, shipping lines, third-party logistics (3PLs), inland transportation, shippers and other actors, all together.
Organizations already participating
Since the collaboration started in June 2016, multiple parties have piloted the platform including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A broader group of global corporations have already expressed interest in the capabilities and are exploring ways to use the new platform, including General Motors and Procter and Gamble to streamline the complex supply chains they operate and Agility Logistics to provide improved customer services including customs clearance brokerage.
Additional customs and government authorities, including Singapore Customs and Peruvian Customs, will explore collaborating with the platform to facilitate trade flows and enhance supply chain security. The global terminal operators APM Terminals and PSA International will use the platform to enrich port collaboration and improve terminal planning. With support from Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau by connecting to its Global Quality Traceability System for import and export goods, the platform can also link users to important trade corridors in and out of China.
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