IBM and global transport and logistics powerhouse Maersk have announced a new collaboration to use blockchain technology to help transform the global, cross-border supply chain. Based on the Hyperledger Fabric and built by IBM and Maersk, the blockchain solution will be made available to the shipping and logistics industry. The solution is designed to help manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers across the world by digitizing the supply chain process from end-to-end to enhance transparency and the highly secure sharing of information among trading partners. When adopted at scale, the solution has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars. It is expected to be widely available to support multiple parties across the ocean shipping industry ecosystem later this year.
Ninety percent of goods in global trade are carried by the ocean shipping industry each year. IBM and Maersk intend to work with a network of shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and customs authorities to build the new global trade digitization solution, which is expected to go into production later this year. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of trading by using blockchain technology to establish transparency among parties. The solution is designed to help reduce fraud and errors, reduce the time products spend in the transit and shipping process, improve inventory management and ultimately reduce waste and cost that is rampant in the current system.