Last week at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai some of the largest shipping industry companies made an agreement to conduct joint research and development for a new universal shipping data system. The platform will utilize distributed ledger technology, and function similarly to IBM and Maersk’s industry leading blockchain platform TradeLens.
In total, nine companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the new open digital platform. These founding members are taking the first step of a greater purpose to form a larger consortium that focuses on understanding and integrating new technologies available to benefit the industry. The Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) includes four industry leaders from around the world:
PSA International - port operator - Singapore
Shanghai International Port Group - port operator - China
CMA CGM S.A - 3rd largest shipping company - France
Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation - 9th largest shipping company - Taiwan
Some of these nine companies, and many involved in the shipping industry are as old as 100 years. Many of the standard procedures were created back in the 1950’s when the very first standard was set for shipping container size. The system overall wastes tons of physical paper, and is full of redundancies and steps that could be automated with technology now available.
A tech company out of Hong Kong will be the software development lead for the new shipping group. CargoSmart initiated a blockchain shipping alliance, and is now seeing the benefits of their forward thinking. Their first steps will be to simply introduce a basic, universal shipping business network by this year’s end. One of the primary concerns is to potentially dangerous goods. Rather than focusing on efficiency, CargoSmart is using the benefits of blockchain technology to reduce safety concerns for shipping industry employees.
Competition or potential partnership?
Earlier this year, Maersk and IBM announced their blockchain platform TradeLens had reached a total of 94 member organizations. The project is completing a proof-of-concept stage. As part of IBM's early adopter program, the pilot system is actively capturing more than a million shipping events each day.
These organizations know that the only way to achieve the full potential of open networks, they will have to work together. There is also the potential that one of the many interoperability blockchain networks could facilitate a smooth partnership between these two networks while still maintaining their own identity.
By: BGN Editorial Staff