A.P. Moller – Maersk and IBM on Tuesday announced their intent to establish a joint venture to provide what they termed as “more efficient and secure” methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The aim of the new company will be to offer a jointly developed global trade digitization platform built on open standards and designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem, the companies stated. It will address the need to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones, they said.
The platform is built on IBM Blockchain technology, which is provided through the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.
Maersk, a global leader in container logistics, and IBM, a leading provider of blockchain, supply chain visibility and interoperability solutions for the enterprise, will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and analytics, delivered via IBM Services, in order to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders.
Manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities can all benefit from these new technologies –and ultimately consumers, the companies stated.
“This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitization of global trade. The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture.
“By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”
The new company initially plans to commercialize two core capabilities aimed at digitizing the global supply chain from end-to-end:
– A shipping information pipeline will provide end-to-end supply chain visibility to enable all actors involved in managing a supply chain to securely and seamlessly exchange information about shipment events in real time.
– Paperless Trade will digitize and automate paperwork filings by enabling end-users to securely submit, validate and approve documents across organizational boundaries, ultimately helping to reduce the time and cost for clearance and cargo movement. Blockchain-based smart contracts ensure all required approvals are in place, helping speed up approvals and reducing mistakes.
Upon regulatory clearance, solutions from the joint venture are expected to become available within six months.
The new company will be headquartered in the New York metropolitan area.