Maersk and IBM partner on blockchain platform for the transportation industry

Maersk and IBM partner on blockchain platform for the transportation industry
© Bernard Spragg

A joint project by international shipping giant Maersk and technology company IBM has built a blockchain platform for the transportation industry.

The platform, called TradeLens, was announced by the two companies in January, and has already captured 154 million data events in its bid to become a world-leading blockchain platform for the transportation industry. The technology has now gone live, with 94 organisations either participating or having registered their plans to participate, and captures more than one million new data events every day.

The aim of the project is bring the security benefits of blockchain to international shipping, making global trade more efficient and secure by bringing together stakeholders from across the value chain to support information sharing and transparency, and spur industry-wide innovation.

Who are the stakeholders helping to deliver the system?

According to the companies, more than 20 port and terminal operators around the world helped to pilot the platform, which in total account for more than 230 marine gateways worldwide; these include the Port of Bilbao, Spain, the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the Port of Halifax, Canada. In addition, customs authorities in five countries will participate in the project, alongside a number of freight and logistics companies.

Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, said that the potential benefits of the blockchain platform could only be realised if industry stakeholders joined forces to power the technology, and welcomed the progress that has already been made.

She said: “We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitising global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves $4tr in 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.”

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