The international third-party logistics provider Agility recently shared some thought-provoking statistics: every year the company spends about $1.8 trillion on shipping across borders – and one fifth of this sum is spent on documentation and administrative issues. But in 2018 the results may significantly change as Agility joined the Maersk-IBM collaboration on blockchain-based global trade digitization platform.
Maersk has a long story of partnering with IBM. These companies have been working together on a distributed ledger platform for the logistics industry. IBM has also attracted some other important players like the largest shipping firm in Asia Pacific International Lines.
The idea behind the project is perfecting the trade system. Blockchain can solve a number of problems logistics companies face: costly mistakes, standstills, redundant documentation. The technology is especially suited to the sphere of cargo flows. No wonder Maersk-IBM collaboration has already inspired some followers like The Port of Rotterdam Authority.
Agility is to become the first freight forwarder involved into the project of Maersk and IBM. The company has already agreed to incorporate the blockchain-based platform in the existent individual shipment process. The distributed ledger technology will receive from Agility information and provide the company with a secure platform that can be used throughout the whole supply chain.
“For Agility, it’s important to be involved early in blockchain and to work with forward-thinking companies like Maersk and IBM,” CEO of Agility Global Integrated Logistics Al-Saleh said. “Together, we have a lot to learn and share in order to bring the benefits of this technology to shippers and consumers as quickly as possible.”
Blockchain-based platform can be used for different aims. Blockchain has already proved to be an effective technology for payment transactions tracking. IBM and Maersk also use the platform to track shipments and documentation. The system may be used not only by the Agility itself, but all the parties of chain supply including customs.
“Blockchain technology is going to make shipping cheaper, safer and more reliable. As early adopters, companies like Agility can help Maersk and IBM understand the needs of shippers and develop standards that will make trade more efficient,” said Essa Al-Saleh, “We can help customers understand how to use blockchain to improve shipment visibility, eliminate paperwork, reduce errors, and shorten transit and clearance times.”
The global trade digitization platform also provides more opportunities for risk analyses. It is expected to cut the costs of shipping and help to achieve a higher level of security and safety.
Maersk and IBM have enough expertise to create a trusted platform for global trading. The collaboration with Agility significantly benefits to the development of the project as it gets real data from one of the leading providers of integrated logistics. The only problem that worries some of the blockchain enthusiasts in the cargo flows is that lots of similar projects are developed in parallel which may lead to multiple platform standards in the sphere.