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IBM and Maersk transform supply chain with blockchain tech

Maersk and IBM are looking to increase global trade by using the benefits of blockchain technology.

The two companies have announced a joint venture (opens in new tab) that they believe will provide a more efficient way to conduct global trade through optimising supply chains with blockchain.

The maximum cost of the required trade documentation to process and administer many goods (particularly ones going via ocean) can reach a fifth of the actual physical transportation costs, the companies say. By cutting these expenses, the amount of global trade could go up as much as 15 per cent, they claim.

The announcement also highlights how the use of AI, IoT and analytics can “help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders”.

“This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitisation of global trade. The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit,” said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture. 

“By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”

IBM and Maersk have been working on a new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies since June 2016. Since then, their products have been piloted by DuPoint, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, The Customs Administration of the Netherlands, as well as the US Customs and Border Protection.

The two companies are also forming an advisory board of industry experts, which should further shape the platform and its services.

At start, two core capabilities will be commercialised: a shipping information pipeline, providing end-to-end supply chain visibility; and paperless trade. After regulatory clearance, the two companies’ solutions should hit the market within six months.

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.