In early August 2018, the IT giant IBM Corp. and global shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk Group has announced the official launch of the platform for supply tracking and supply chain management called TradeLens (formerly known as Global Trade Digitization, or GTD). This is the first of the projects, the launch of which can dramatically improve the industry and the global economy as a whole.
In the article you will find a detailed description of this case:
- A brief introduction to IBM and Maersk.
- Objectives, principles of operation and advantages of TradeLens.
- Design and test / proof of concept.
- List of project participants and partners.
- TradeLens market share.
Briefly about Maersk and IBM
Maersk. Danish transnational business conglomerate specializing in container shipping and energy. Since 1996, Maersk is considered the largest operator of container ships and supply vessels in the world with more than 88,000 employees and representative offices in 130 countries. In September 2016, the Maersk Group was divided into two separate and independent units: transport with logistics and energy.
After the separation, the transport and logistics department received more than 600 vessels for operation, whose gross tonnage amounted to more than 3,8 million registered tons, more than 15% of the world TEU. Such a volume is equivalent to the supply chain of the whole city: a huge volume of operations, goods and interlacing ties. And current management systems cannot cope with all this logistics:
- Cumbersome, complex, and often unnecessarily costly informational and monetary transactions between participants of freight and supply chains.
- Too many manual labor-intensive processes that increase costs and inevitably cause errors and cargo delays.
- Opaque and inefficient customs processes that create opportunities for corruption and fraud.
- Unfair information sharing between supply chain participants.
- Lack of industry standardization, which leads to the generation of poor-quality and inconsistent data.
IBM Corp. American multinational IT giant. One of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of hardware and software in the world, as well as IT services and consulting services. Net income – $ 9 billion, staff – 350,000 employees, service area – 177 countries. For development unit in the blockchain company is responsible the division of IBM Blockchain.
Maersk and IBM announced the partnership in March 2017. Shipping and IT giants created a company to commercialize a solution based on Hyperledger Fabric (one of the Hyperledger projects developed by the Linux Foundation) that will replace outdated paper and digital processes in the management of shipping and tracking ships, containers and cargo.
What is TradeLens
TradeLens is positioned as an open and neutral platform for managing sea freight and supply chains, created on the basis of the blockchain. It enables open and largely automated exchange of information and other values between all participants in the supply chain at a fundamentally new level: interaction between participants occurs faster, generates fewer errors, does not require verification by a third party, and costs less.
Key Project Goals
Creating a single ecosystem. The platform brings together all parties involved in the supply chain: cargo owners, freight forwarders, domestic transport providers (including rail and road), sea carriers, ports and terminals, customs and other government agencies. The parties connect and interact within a common neutral network, where processes are standardized and largely automated.
The introduction of the exchange of veridical cue. Real-time TradeLens provides convenient, safe and fast exchange of useful information between all network participants: involved transport, location and cargo details, sales documents, sensor readings and much more. Interested parties can track the status of the cargo and its accompanying documentation as part of their roles: the sender, carrier, customs, consignee and final consumer.