Major ocean container carriers CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) are joining TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, jointly developed by A.P. Moller – Maersk and IBM. With the addition of these carriers on the TradeLens platform, nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo will be using blockchain technology to dramatically improve costs and efficiencies.
Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms & Blockchain at IBM, discusses the addition of major ocean carriers to the TradeLens blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform in an interview on Bloomberg:
Blockchain Technology Could Reduce Shipping Industry Costs By 20%
Essentially we announced yesterday that with the addition of MSC and CMA on to the TradeLens blockchain more than 50 percent of the volume of the containers of the world’s shipping industry will be on a blockchain that we’ve developed in collaboration with Maersk. What this means is full transparency and a massive reduction of paper exchange. An average shipment takes about 200 document exchanges between the multiple parties; the freight forwarders, the shippers, the carriers, customs, and ports.
The World Economic Forum estimates that’s about 20 percent wastage from inefficiencies in the supply chain. The technology of blockchain allows all these multiple parties to immutably store the records and advance the records as the shipments move. This means less wait times. It means carriers and shippers know where the goods are. It basically means things can be cleared a lot faster, all leading to bigger inclusion in the shipping industry.
Starting To See Blockchain Technology For Enterprise Really Scale
The whole ecosystem will benefit so much in terms of the efficiencies. If you think about it, rather than having to interface 200 document times, it occurs once by putting your data on the blockchain. This is a situation when the ROI for every single industry participant is very strong.
The second thing, which is really important and why we’re starting to see the blockchain technology for enterprise really scale in terms of what IBM has been building for our clients across numerous industries, is that there’s a level of security in here and there’s a level of speed and efficiency. It’s easy to actually set up these networks. The difference is that these solve problems that no one company could solve on their own.
Blockchain Technology Reducing Costs
The way that the system works is that all the participants pay a very small amount to belong to the blockchain. It is a flat rate but does change according to volume. It is a very de minimis amount and the real way that the blockchain works is by many many participants belonging to the network and by the fact that those participants have a reduced cost.
Another example of this is we have a blockchain in the consumer and retail industry called Food Trust which tracks provenance and sustainability of food built in conjunction with the industry. It allows food to be tracked and recalled in two seconds versus six days. That has got such a strong economic and consumer value. The other big payback is that for many of our clients they’re looking at the idea to have trackable, sustainable, consumer presentations. So you can put diamonds on a blockchain and say they aren’t conflict diamonds. This is very powerful for consumer provenance and sustainability.