Blockchain is increasingly being explored by enterprise for efficient solutions
Danish based Moller-Maersk the world’s largest container shipping company is collaborating with IBM to integrate blockchain technology into the global supply chain.
Together they have created and released TradeLens a blockchain platform operating through IBM’s cloud offering.
TradeLens uses the blockchain to build smart contracts which allow multiple groups to work together with a single shared view of transactions that doesn’t break standards around privacy and sensitive data.
Writing in the release IBM note how companies utilising blockchain smart contracts and TradeLens enable: “importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs and NGOs to collaborate in cross-organizational business processes and information exchanges, all backed by a secure, non-reputable audit trail.”
Maersk and IBM have made the APIs for the entire solution open, this is to help foster an environment of innovation with regards to the platform.
Bridget van Kralingen, senior VP of IBM Global Industries commented that: “We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of 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.”
Trials Showed a More Efficient Way to Work
Over a 12 month trial IBM and Maersk collaborated with many ecosystem partners in order to identify ways in which they can make shipping more efficient through the blockchain.
One test of TradeLens showed it could reduce delivery times of packaging materials to a production line by 40 percent when tested in the United States.
Through increased visibility and better lines of communication IBM claims that: “some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as “where is my container” from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person.”
TradeLens runs on a permissioned blockchain built on Hyperledger Fabric. All the apps currently in the IBM store are Hyperledger-based.
Fabric is also the first blockchain system that runs distributed applications written in standard, general-purpose programming languages, (e.g., Go, Java, Node.js), without systemic dependency on a native cryptocurrency.
Potential further use cases include customer processes, sanctions screening, collateral management, derivatives post-trade processing and reconciliation as well as market data on the blockchain.
Blockchain is increasingly being explored as a way to improve the speed of doing business by providing a single, shared version of events and one implementation of common business functions.
Peter Levesque, CEO of Modern Terminals commented in a released statement that: “TradeLens uses blockchain technology to create an industry standard for the secure digitization and transmission of supply chain documents around the world.”
“This initiative will generate tremendous savings for our industry over time while enhancing global supply chain security.”