Supply chain

Enterprise-ready blockchain brings transparency to supply chains

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There are over 17 million shipping containers in the world, of which five to six million are currently being transported on oceans, rails and roads. In the shipping process, inconsistent information and limited transparency across organizational boundaries can sometimes hinder the efficient movement of goods. These costly inefficiencies could soon be eliminated by blockchain supply chain solutions.

Estimates say trade document processing and administration currently add a staggering 20 percent to the physical cost of shipping a single container. With more than $4 trillion in goods shipped each year, blockchain supply chain solutions such as the planned joint venture between Maersk and IBM could reshape the shipping industry — if not every other industry connected to it.

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Arriving in ports faster and providing better peace of mind

The concept devised by Maersk and IBM is global trade digitization (GTD), and it is designed to unleash the distributed ledger technology of IBM Blockchain to help speed goods on their way from manufacturer to market like nothing before.

Why does this matter?

A typical shipment can pass through as many as 30 unique organizations and generate 200 different communications on its passage. Many of these transactions are conducted with systems that don’t speak with one another — including something shocking for 2018, paper records. A single missing form or late approval could delay goods at port for more than a month.

Maersk and IBM are helping to transform the traditional decentralized supply chain model into a new, distributed end-to-end digital ecosystem — one in which all parties can conduct real-time shipment transactions with each other as part of a trusted, immutable, seamless and fully transparent network.

Creating supply chains of shared knowledge and innovation

It’s estimated that blockchain’s impact on supply chains could increase worldwide GDP by almost five percent and unlock an additional 15 percent in global trade volume — an opportunity that substantiates the continued development of blockchain supply chain solutions. IBM Blockchain provides an optimal platform for the endeavor. It’s built on The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, an open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation, in which more than 180 companies are working together on blockchain for business solutions.

The goal is to bring entire industries together — shipping, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and many more — by helping to develop smarter processes to better share the information powering our world today.

To learn more about blockchain technology from pioneers in the field, join Business of Blockchain at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA on April 23. Be sure to catch the Industry Impact segment at 2 PM, to hear Brigdet van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain at IBM; Ibrahim Gokcen, Chief Digital Officer at A.P. Moller – Maersk; and Frank Yiannas, Vice Present of Food Safety at Walmart, discuss the implications of enterprise-ready blockchain on global supply chains.

Add greater visibility and efficiency across the entire supply chain

Blockchain Vice President, Global Trade - IBM Industry Platform

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