Nine leading ocean carriers and terminal operators on November 6 signed a formal statement of intent for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a consortium to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology. The participants include ocean carriers CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING Lines, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, and Yang Ming; terminal operators DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International Pte Ltd, and Shanghai International Port; and software solutions provider CargoSmart. The new platform will establish a digital baseline that aims to connect all stakeholders, including carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies, shippers, and logistics service providers to enable collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain.
The container shipping industry is often characterized by disparate processes that take place across both physical and digital domains. Companies are increasingly looking towards digital technologies to resolve siloed shipment management procedures and disruptive information gaps. The consortium will offer a forum to address these challenges, explore cross-industry opportunities, and empower future innovation and insights. The consortium’s leading members intend to collaboratively develop the platform and establish standards to facilitate the seamless sharing of documents and data across all stages of the shipping lifecycle.
The GSBN will enable the shipping industry to digitally transform and to prepare for innovative supply chains. Based on blockchain technology, the new platform will offer the following benefits:
- Open and Extensible – A cooperative network enables members to develop applications and connect to other consortium networks to increase the speed of data integration and improve business performance.
- Transparency and Instant Validation – Peer-to-peer networking allows data owners to share immutable records to other shipment stakeholders, enabling them to take quick action regarding critical milestones and to keep cargo moving throughout the supply chain.
- Digital Baseline for Standards – An industry-wide common, trusted, and expansive digital model provides a foundation for highly collaborative initiatives and market intelligence.
CargoSmart Leading the Consortium Formation
Building upon 18 years of experience providing solutions that connect carriers, terminals, shippers, and forwarders, CargoSmart initiated the formation of the blockchain consortium to revolutionize information exchange in the shipping industry. CargoSmart is leveraging its deep shipping domain knowledge, big data analytics, and expertise in developing software applications with artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technologies to help network participants improve their shipping and logistics operations.
Pilot Application Planned for Documentation
The GSBN provides the foundation for new applications that can transform documentation flow for shipment management including dangerous goods documents, invoices, and cargo release. The first planned application will allow shippers to digitize and organize their dangerous goods documents and automatically connect with relevant parties to streamline the approval process. The application is scheduled to be available in December 2018.
“The GSBN blockchain consortium has the potential to enable faster, more accurate processing of cargo information and more transparency of terminal operations to cargo owners,” said Yan Jun, president of Shanghai International Port. “We look forward to using the latest technologies for optimizing shipping processes and collaboration.”
“With the vision of a truly open blockchain platform for the industry, the GSBN will be key to the success of establishing a sustainable blockchain ecosystem for all stakeholders in the supply chain. OOCL is very excited to be a part of this highly collaborative environment that can facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas towards even more innovative business models and solutions for our customers,” said Andy Tung, co-chief executive officer of Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd.
“As a founding member of the GSBN consortium, Hutchison Ports recognises the potential of blockchain technology to be the key game changer with far-reaching impact on global supply chains, bringing immense benefits to all aspects of operations and end-to-end visibility throughout the entire supply chain. This collaboration brings together major industry players who strive to develop an open digital platform that will deliver efficiency gains and reduce costs of transactions,” said Ivor Chow, director – Corporate Finance & Business Development of Hutchison Ports.
“We are pleased to provide an industry-wide forum for collaboration based on blockchain technologies to transform the shipping and logistics industry and elevate supply chain processes,” said Steve Siu, chief executive officer of CargoSmart.