Last year IBM and Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk announced the limited availability of a shipping blockchain TradeLens. The two partners finally announced that a couple of other major shippers have come on board. The new add-ons are Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the second largest after Maersk, and CMA-CGM, the fourth largest in terms of cargo carrying capacity.
The recently expanded TradeLens consortium accounts almost half of all cargo shipments. It also has great potential for disrupting the industry that is reluctant to embrace new technologies with the help of Blockchain.
TradeLens encourages rivaling enterprises to enhance the efficiency of cargo shipments by means of cooperation.
The fact that IBM was able to onboard Maersk’s biggest competitors shows that they’ve managed to make a lot of progress since last year when the platform experienced difficulties attracting new carriers.
TradeLens now has more than 100 organizations signed up. Customs clearance is an area that many in the logistics sector believe is a natural blockchain use case. TradeLens boasts several customs members including the US Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency and the Customs Administration of the Netherlands. Last week Saudi Customs announced its first pilot shipment on the platform.
MSC and CMA-CGM join other carriers Asia’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and Maersk subsidiary Hamburg Süd, which, when combined, account for nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo data.
Digital Collaboration As the Key to the Evolution of the Shipping Industry
Rajesh Krishnamurthy, CMA CGM Group Executive Vice President, IT & Transformations, said:
“We believe that TradeLens, with its commitment to open standards and open governance, is a key platform to help usher in this digital transformation. TradeLens’ network is already showing that participants from across the supply chain ecosystem can derive significant value.”
André Simha, Chief Digital and Information Officer of MSC added:
“Digital collaboration is key to the evolution of the container shipping industry. The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards.”
When it comes to auditing, it can take loads of paperwork and weeks of intensive effort to gather it all. The truth is – shipping could really benefit from digitization. There were, however, some attempts as EDI – Electronic Data Interchange, computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners.
With the blockchain, all the participants can easily follow the flow of shipments along the chain and trust that the immutable record has not been altered at any point.
Bridget van Kralingen, IBM Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Clients, Platforms, and Blockchain, said:
“The major advances IBM continues to make in blockchain illustrate that the technology is fostering new business models and playing an important role in how the world works.”
Microsoft Applying Blockchain to Track Supply Chains in Aviation
However, it is crucial to know that more and more companies are embracing blockchain technology. Two weeks ago, GE Aviation in collaboration with Microsoft offered a supply chain track and traced blockchain to strengthen the aviation industry. GE Aviation is a supplier of jet engines and serves about 60 percent of the global airline industry, and now they have created an Ethereum-based supply chain track-and-trace blockchain with the help of Microsoft Azure.
The company said that they don’t want to limit the use of its blockchain to their own needs and plans to make its blockchain available for an industry-wide consortium of partners. The technology will perform a function of monitoring and collating data related to the manufacturing process and the entire life cycle of critical engine parts of aircraft.