IBM, Maersk form joint venture for blockchain supply chain platform

Wednesday 17 January 2018 00:21 CET | News

A joint venture between Maersk and IBM is to release a blockchain-powered digital platform for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem.

The two cpmpanies have announced they will establish a company that will commercialise and scale a platform jointly developed on open standards, which aims to to provide more efficiency and transparency in the movement of goods across borders.

Based on blockchain technology, it empowers large networks of disparate trading partners – including manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, shippers and customs authorities – to collaborate through one platform. It will establish a single shared, immutable, real-time view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

Banks providing digital trade finance products will similarly get increased visibility of key events affecting their financing, as well as the digital documentation supporting the transactions. The hope is that this will free up more capital for banks to lend elsewhere.

The platform will employ other cloud-based technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and analytics to help companies move and track goods digitally.

The announcement of the joint venture is the next step in a collaboration that started in June 2016, which has since involved pilots with various parties, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, US Customs and Border Protection.

The new company, which has not yet been named, will now enable IBM and Maersk to commercialise and scale the solution to a broader group of global corporations. Many companies have already expressed interest and are exploring ways to use the new platform. These include General Motors, Procter and Gamble and freight forwarder and logistic company Agility Logistics. Customs and government authorities such as Singapore Customs, Peruvian Customs and the global terminal operators APM Terminals and PSA International are also considering the platform.

Two core functionalities are expected to be fully released within a few months. The first is a shipping information pipeline which will provide full supply chain visibility, enabling all actors involved to exchange information about shipments in real time. The second functionality, “paperless trade”, will digitise and automate paperwork filings by enabling end-users to submit, validate and approve documents. Smart contracts will ensure that all required approvals are in place, which will speed up approvals and reduce mistakes.

To address specific needs of the industry, Maersk and IBM are also establishing an advisory board of industry experts, which will provide guidance and feedback on the platform, services and open standards.

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Keywords: Maersk, IBM, supply chain finance, blockchain platform, automation, smart contracts, joint venture
Categories: Banking & Fintech | E-invoicing, SCF & E-procurement
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech