Blockchain Solution for Shipping has Ports, Container Lines, Forwarding Agents and Customs On Board
However Not All Are So Enthusiastic About Who Handles Their Data
DENMARK – US – WORLDWIDE – Having initially announced their collaboration on a blockchain technology project two year’s ago, partners in the arrangement AP Möller Maersk and IBM, have finally go round to christening it, TradeLens, and since formally launching the ‘joint collaboration’ as they call it, at the beginning of this year, it seems they have been busily signing up interested parties, from port operators to logistics agencies, customs authorities and even rival ocean container freight carriers.
So far ninety four different organisations have put their faith in the project which is being marketed as a neutral platform which, having been trialled up to this point, is intended to become commercially viable by the end of the year. To emphasise this is not a joint venture in the true sense of the term each of the two founding partners will retain the revenue from the operations which they sign up.
Whilst TradeLens is what is becoming the classic model for a blockchain project within the industry, and based on the well proven Linux open source operating system coupled with Linux developed Hyperledger technology, similarly open sourced, doubtless not everybody will be comfortable with the management strategy. Maersk and IBM say the system establishes a single view of a transaction en route whilst maintaining security enabling participants to establish the exact status of a consignment.
The information is as detailed as possible, with sensors checking and relaying geographical, temperature and mass information remotely whilst establishing customs status, document and data specifics etc. The delays inherent in current systems could be seen immediately by all interested parties and Maersk and IBM claim delays reduced on trial shipments amounted to up to 40% time savings, with consequent cost reductions.
Obviously with Maersk and subsidiaries Hamburg Süd and APM Terminals involved the amount of data which has been processed since trials began is huge. Over 150 million shipping activities have been recorded on the platform in the one year period and the partners now say this has grown to approaching one million events every day.The system has received praise from some of its earliest participants which include freight forwarders and logistics specialists Damco, Agility and Ceva. Xavier Urbain, CEO of Ceva Logistics commented recently:
“We see great potential in TradeLens because it provides real-time access to all parties involved in the supply chain. It’s a big step in building a global market standard for blockchain solutions.”
However not everyone who is a possible stakeholder is quite so enthusiastic at handing over all their confidential data to a potential rival, particularly in the light of the cyber attackswe have seen against major players, including Maersk, in the industry of late. Both CMA CGM and Hapag Lloyd have expressed reservations about TradeLens in its current form with Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen commenting:
”Technically the solution could be a good platform, but it will require a governance that makes it an industry platform and not just a platform for Maersk and IBM. And this is the weakness we’re currently seeing in many of these initiatives, as each individual project claims to offer an industry platform that they themselves control. This is self-contradictory, without a joint solution, we’re going to waste a lot of money, and that would benefit no one.”
Source: Handy Shipping Guide.