Two of the largest global carriers CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have announced their integration onto TradeLens, the blockchain platform jointly developed by Maersk and IBM.
These two shipping giants, together with Maersk, will act as platform foundation carriers with a role in expanding the ecosystem and platform operations, including playing key roles as validators on the blockchain network.
The addition of these two major players marks a crucial milestone for the industry, which until now has too often relied on paper-based trade and manual document handling that leads to increased costs and reduced business continuity, according to an announcement.
The three container shipping companies and IBM, together with the expanding TradeLens network of terminals, customs authorities and 3PL and intermodal providers, are ushering in a transformation designed to benefit all network participants by making it easier to quickly and more reliably share documents and shipping data.
"An industry-wide collaboration like this is truly unprecedented", according to Marc Bourdon, CMA CGM senior vice president, commercial agencies network, who said, "Only by working together and agreeing to a shared set of standards and goals are we able to enact the digital transformation that is now touching nearly every part of the global shipping industry."
This completes a digital transformation that has taken more than a year, requiring considerable investment in new Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities. An important milestone in the process, according to a statement, was a 15-customer pilot involving more than 3,000 unique consignments, 100,000 events and 6,000 containers to ensure the TradeLens platform distributes and shares shipment data across various supply chains with speed and accuracy.
TradeLens members use the platform to connect within the ecosystem and share information needed for their shipments based on permissions, without sharing sensitive data.
The digital platform, which is run on IBM Cloud and IBM Blockchain, makes it possible to access data from the source in near real-time, boosts the quality of information, provides a comprehensive view of data as cargo moves around the world, and helps create a more timely, secured record of transactions.
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. It has already tracked 30 million container shipments, 1.5 billion events and roughly 13 million published documents.
For customers, the addition of CMA CGM and MSC in production can result in fewer data gaps as they do business with multiple carriers, said the joint announcement.
Additionally, other members such as ports, terminals, regulatory authorities and intermodal providers can benefit from the ability to use permissioned data sharing to provide a comprehensive view of freight moving around the world. Terminal operators who use TradeLens to improve yard planning will now also be able to access far more comprehensive data for processing multi-carrier vessels.
"By completing the integration, we can now begin showing our customers and business partners how they can create and see value from the platform, and we hope that many of them will join it, creating an even larger and more beneficial ecosystem," commented Andre Simha, MSC global chief digital & information officer.
Other recent additions of new ports and terminals include the Commercial Port of Vladivostock, DP World, PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Lines (SPIL), Portbase, QTerminals and Hamad Port, SSA Marine’s Manzanillo International Terminal - Panama (MIT-Panama), Shipwaves, South Asia Gateway Terminals and Yilport Holding.