Global terminal operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) has agreed to connect its terminals to the TradeLens blockchain network, a platform developed by Maersk and IBM.
Connecting to Tradelens allows ICTSI's 31 terminals permissioned access to accurate information on cargo movements in advance of vessel arrivals, according to an announcement.
Tracking of containers through the networked exchange of data enables efficient asset planning for all entities involved utilising data in near real time to create end-to-end data visibility, said ICTSI in its statement and added that leveraging an enterprise data platform, it will manage a single global TradeLens connection that will enable rapid innovation and service improvement in partnership with TradeLens.
“We are now testing the system and transferring information about loading and discharge of cargo, berthing of vessels to the blockchain platform. After complete integration of the system, we will be able to optimise work with regulatory authorities, improve our terminals’ visibility to what is coming to them as well as receive updates from the sea carriers online,” explained Brian Hibbert, ICTSI vice president and chief information officer.
Launched in 2018, the TradeLens ecosystem now includes more than 175 organisations, extending to more than 10 ocean carriers and encompassing data from more than 600 ports and terminals. Additionally, it has already tracked 30 million container shipments, 1.5 billion events and roughly 13 million published documents.
“The broadening geographic scope of the platform is bolstered by the addition of ICTSI and provides new opportunities for TradeLens participants as the ecosystem continues to expand rapidly,” commented Thomas Sproat, TradeLens director of network development.
TradeLens enables carriers and cargo owners to exchange transactional information in real time, while it also sends associated trade documents to permissioned parties. Blockchain technology reduces the processing time of traditional paper documents, making it faster and easier to issue bills of lading for cargo, sanitary certificates, invoices for payment and other types of documentation, according to the announcement.
For terminals, this is especially important when considering hazardous cargo and potential efficiency gains in the terminal release and customs release processes, ICTSI highlighted.
"The ability for clients to get faster and more granular information from terminals, like those managed by ICTSI, allows them to better manage a critical phase of the container journey," added the international operator who went on to conclude, "from container discharge information, to gate in empty details, having a single source of visibility for container movements directly improves efficiencies throughout the planning and invoice reconciliation cycles."