Growth Of IBM/Maersk Platform Proves Blockchain Is Upending Global Trade

Back in January, IBM and Maersk announced a joint company to create a more efficient and secure process for conducting global trade that leverages blockchain technology. This week, they revealed that 94 organizations have joined the blockchain platform so far, demonstrating that the buzzed-about blockchain is indeed making an impact. The IBM/Maersk platform, called TradeLens, aims to increase efficiency and cut down on the paper trail of global container shipping—an industry that has seen little change since the container was invented in the 1950s.

Using blockchain smart contracts in the trade process allows multiple partners to collaborate in one single shared view of a transaction, which remains private, confidential, and unchangeable. TradeLens also uses artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and analytics technologies to help companies move and track goods digitally across borders. The platform can reduce the transit time of a shipping of packaging materials to a production line in the US by 40%, saving thousands of dollars.

More than 154 million shipping events have been collected on the platform so far, including data such as arrival time of vessels and containers, and documents like customs releases and commercial invoices. This data is growing at a rate of nearly one million events per day, the release noted. This means that instead of companies sharing documents via email attachment, fax, or even courier, they can go to the platform to see all critical data about every shipment in a supply chain.

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