Maersk and IBM have launched the pilot of their jointly-developed blockchain platform TradeLens, which is designed to increase transparency and reduce the administrative burden in global container shipping.
More than 94 organizations – including port operators in Rotterdam and Singapore, customs authorities in Australia and Saudi Arabia, and container carriers PIL and Hamburg Süd – have agreed to participate on the platform.
During the project’s 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors and paper-based bureaucracy. TradeLens uses IBM’s blockchain technology to allow supply chain participants to interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and related documents – including sensor data on temperature control and container weight.
According to IBM, some supply chain participants have said they can reduce the steps taken to answer simple operational questions, such as “where is my container” from 10 steps and five people to one step and one person with TradeLens.
Over 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform to date, including data on arrival times of vessels, as well as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. The data is growing by almost one million events per day, with the platform tracking critical data about every shipment in a supply chain.
"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,” says Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain.
TradeLens is expected to be commercially available by the end of this year.