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IBM and Maersk launch blockchain for the seas

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chanaka / Pixabay)

In an effort to help reduce shipping time and costs, shipping giant Maersk and IBM have announced a new technology called TradeLens that applies blockchain to the global supply chain.

TradeLens utilises blockchain technology to improve the efficiency and security of global trade and so far over 94 companies and organisations are backing the project as early adopters.

Over 20 port and terminal operators including Port of Halifax, Port of Rotterdam, PSA Singapore and others have agreed to participate in the TradeLens platform. Additionally customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru are participating as well as cargo owners including Torre Blanca / Camposol and Umit Bisiklet.

TradeLens is built on IBM's blockchain technology which it uses as the foundation for digital supply chains. The new platform will allow multiple trading partners to collaborate by creating a single shared view of a transaction without revealing private or confidential details.

All parties involved in the shipping industry, including shipping lines, freight forwarders, port operators and customs authorities, can access shipping data and documents in real-time which should help improve speed and efficiency going forward.

Senior Vice President of IBM's global industries, solutions and blockchain, Bridget Van Kralingen explained why blockchain technology and the shipping industry are a perfect match in a statement (opens in new tab), saying:

"We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on a single factor –bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally. Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to form a strong, connected network in which all members gain by sharing important data and that together we can transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted." 

While blockchain technology first emerged alongside bitcoin, we are finally starting to see businesses successfully apply it to other fields and industries.

Image Credit: Chanaka / Pixabay

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.