IBM’s blockchain supply chain has seen a massive addition recently as 94 businesses joined the project run by IBM and AP Moller-Maersk, a mammoth shipping company. This project is meant to improve operations in logistics and shipping by harnessing the advantages of blockchain. The two companies had come together earlier in 2018 to start a blockchain platform that would introduce ease in the coordination of logistic needs of various shipping companies. Freight forwarding, container shipping and trade finance are some of the issues that the platform seeks to take care of. Currently, efforts are directed towards adding functionality and offer end-to-end services for cross-border corporate trading.
The solution is known as TradeLens and a host of companies have come on board to use it. The list includes more than just buyers and sellers and includes entities such as the Australian and Dutch customs authorities, container carrier Pacific International as well as port authorities in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. The solution is expected to be ready to go beyond piloting by December 2018.
TradeLens works on the IBM blockchain network, based upon the Hyperledger Fabric, which opens up possibilities of interconnections with other IBM and Hyperledger initiatives. As Todd Scott, the global trade VP at IBM Blockchain, said, the system allows for enough flexibility for data to be exchanged across various blockchain networks. TradeLens has open APIs which can work in shipping logistics as well as shipping standardisation connected to authorities such as the CEFACT.
Annually, over $4 trillion worth of freight is moved over supply chains that use shipping containers. The initiative, announced in January, can help digitize the process so that a uniform standard can be implemented across the entire industry. In an interview to Reuters, Vincent Clerc, the Chief Commercial Officer of Maersk, emphasized upon this. It had been apprehended that it would be difficult to find widespread and global adoption easily but this addition of 94 big names somewhat allays such fears.
IBM and Maersk are far from being the only players in the field of aligning blockchain with logistics. This week, we saw OpenPort announce plans to store logistics information on a blockchain powered by the Fr8 Network. Their Initiative focuses on proof of delivery and allied data to enhance payments to suppliers and financing of trade.