After launching a concept outline at the start of this year, IBM and Maersk presented TradeLens, the production version of an electronic ledger to monitor global shipments; the companies say they have 94 participants piloting the system, including more than 20 port operators and terminals.
The jointly developed shipping log records the details of shipments of goods as they leave their origin, arrive in ports, are shipped overseas and finally received.
During the transport process, all parties involved in the supply chain can display tracking information such as shipment arrival times and documents such as customs exits, commercial invoices and bills of lading in near real time via the authorized ledger blockchain.
More than 160 million of these shipping events were captured on the platform, according to IBM and Maersk. "These figures are growing at a rate close to one million events a day," the companies said
Traditionally, information systems in the international maritime sector have used paper legal documents and electronic data has been transmitted via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), a 60-year-old technology that does not represent real-time data information .
also documents shared by e-mail, fax and courier.
When information is manually entered or scanned, TradeLens is able to track critical data on each shipment in a supply chain and provides an immutable record among all parties involved, companies said.
Some shipping posters can also be moved via an & # 39; API to the TradeLens platform, so that manufacturers and other members of the supply chain have more timely information and better visibility of the process.  In addition to freight forwarders, transport companies and logistics companies, more than 20 port operators and terminals use or have agreed to pilot TradeLens, including PSA Singapore, International Container Terminal Services Inc., Patrick Terminals and Modern Terminals Ltd. in Hong Kong. The customs authorities of the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru also participate.
"This represents some 234 maritime gateways worldwide that have or will actively participate in TradeLens," IBM said.
Modern Hong Kong terminals have become beta partners of TradeLens' blockchain at the start of this "
" Digitized documentation that can be authenticated at the same time will reduce costs and increase supply chain security " , said Modern Terminals CEO Peter Levesque via email.
As a port operator, Modern Terminals does not need to track shipments outside its operating environment, but maintains the status of containers entering and leaving its terminals via a terminal operating system (TOS) many of which use EDI and wireless LAN and radio frequency identification (RFID) to monitor load movements, the company manages about 5.5 million containers per year at its Hong Kong business unit