IBM and transport and logistics outfit AP Moller-Maersk have signed up 94 organisations to their blockchain-based cross-border supply chain programme to manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers across the world.
IBM and Maersk set up their TradeLens blockchain collaboration earlier this year, promising to create a global trade digitisation platform built on the Hyperledger Fabric and designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem.
That ecosystem now already counts more than 20 port and terminal operators across the globe, including PSA Singapore and the Port of Rotterdam. Meanwhile, Pacific International Lines has joined Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd as global container carriers and several custom authorities - including in Saudi Arabia and Australia - are also onboard.
The partners say the digitised process 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.
More than 154 million shipping events have been captured on the platform, including data such as arrival times of vessels and container "gate-in", and documents such as customs releases, commercial invoices and bills of lading. This data is growing at a rate of close to one million events per day.
Meanwhile, IBM and Maersk have tweaked their partnership. Initially, the two had planned a joint venture, but will now work on TradeLens through a pre-existing collaboration agreement.
Bridget van Kralingen, SVP, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, says: "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."