Information technology and services giant IBM announced last week it has teamed up with integrated container logistics company Maersk to create blockchain shipping solution, TradeLens. The solution was notably developed by the duo to apply blockchain global supply chain. The companies also revealed, as part of the TradeLens early adopter program, 94 organizations are actively involved or have agreed to participate on the Tradelens platform.
“TradeLens uses IBM Blockchain technology as the foundation for digital supply chains, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities can interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including IoT and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.”
IBM and Maersk also reported that by using blockchain smart contracts, TradeLens enables digital collaboration across the multiple parties involved in international trade. The companies noted that during the 12-month trial, they worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments. More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container “gate-in”, and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. While sharing more details about the platform, Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions, and Blockchain, stated:
“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. 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.”
As previously reported, IBM has notably become one of the most active and ambitious American tech companies when it comes to blockchain. Recently, the company announced it has formed a partnership with Columbus University to create an on-campus center for research into blockchain tech and data transparency and the creation of an associated business accelerator for students, faculty, and startups. According to the duo, this new center will combine cross-disciplinary teams from the academic, scientific, business and government communities and collaborators will seek to, advance research in technologies such as secure multi-party computation, homomorphic encryption, secure hardware, fraud reduction, and improving precision medicine through insight from collective data sources.
The TradeLens solution is now available through the Early Adopter Program. The platform is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.