New shipping solution based on blockchain

Posted Aug 9, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Technology giant IBM has teamed up with the integrated transport and logistics company Maersk for a new blockchain shipping solution.
A worker stands near a crane unloading shipping containers from a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungan...
A worker stands near a crane unloading shipping containers from a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungang
China Daily China Daily Information Corp - CDIC / Reuters
IBM and Maersk have been collaborating for around a year on building a blockchain-based shipping solution. The new offering has been in the beta stage for a few months and it is called TradeLens. With the beta stage now successfully evaluated, the platform has now been made available to selected part of the shipping world.
As Forbes assesses, the new platform has been quietly “orchestrating global trade with less reliance on middlemen for a year." With this it has tracked 154 million shipping events across over 300 locations around the world. These include ports, cargo shippers, logistics companies, and more.
The TradeLens project is made up of three aspects. The first is the blockchain, designed to provide a means for tracking goods from factory to delivery. The second are set of application programming interfaces (subroutine definitions, communication protocols, and tools for building software), which are provided to others to build new applications within the platform. This means the system is fits in with an pen supply chain ecosystem model.
The third part is a range of standards that allow for data sharing among the each entity in the workflow. This would include customs, ports and shipping companies. The system is also secure, as CryptoGlobe notes: TradeLens secures data with digital encryption built in, while improving transparency.
According to Marie Wieck, GM for IBM Blockchain, in conversation with TechCrunch, the new product offers a means to digitize each stage of the global trade workflow. This enables real-time communication plus a visual data sharing tool. She is of the opinion that TradeLens is the basis for generating trade by building in trust. She states: “By virtue of already having an early adopter program, and having coverage of 300 trading locations around the world, it is a very good basis for the global exchange of information. And I personally think visibility creates trust, and that can help in a myriad of ways,”