A.P. Moller –Maersk and IBM is looking to partner for a more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The new joint venture company aims to offer a jointly developed global trade digitisation platform built on open standards, designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem. It will address the need to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones.
Maersk and IBM 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. 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.
The platform will help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders, benefiting manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities.
IBM and Maersk began a collaboration in June 2016 to build new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies. Since then, multiple parties have piloted the platform including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The joint venture will enable IBM and Maersk to commercialise and scale their solutions. There has been significant interests from various corporations including: General Motors and Procter and Gamble to streamline the complex supply chains they operate; and freight forwarder and logistic company, Agility Logistics, to provide improved customer services including customs clearance brokerage.
Additional customs and government authorities, including Singapore Customs and Peruvian Customs, will explore collaborating with the platform to facilitate trade flows and enhance supply chain security. The global terminal operators APM Terminals and PSA International will use the platform to enrich port collaboration and improve terminal planning. With support from Guangdong Inspection and Quarantine Bureau by connecting to its Global Quality Traceability System for import and export goods, the platform can also link users to important trade corridors in and out of China.
Maersk and IBM have named Michael J. White, former president of Maersk Line in North America, as CEO of the new company.
The new company initially plans to commercialise two core capabilities, digitising 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 digitise and automate paperwork filings by enabling end-users to securely submit, validate and approve documents across organisational boundaries, 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.