NTT has outlined plans to demonstrate a new supply chain platform that exploits blockchain and IoT. To implement the project, NTT collaborated with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Organization (NEDO). From January to March 2019 the event will take place in ports that export containers in North America and Asia. The goal is to enter production by March 2020.
The project aims to improve productivity and shorten delivery times for the processing of export documentation. NEDO also aims at non-digitized companies. Just like the IBM-Maersk container business, the supply chain project will involve a wide range of organizations: importers, exporters, freight forwarders, customs companies, land transport, terminal operators, shipping companies, banks and insurance companies.
In 2016 NTT began experimenting with supply chains and formed a consortium of thirteen companies last year. This includes three container companies Kawasaki Kisen Corporation, MOL and NYK Line. However, the three companies assembled have about a third of Maersk's capacity.
Although the consortium involves large companies, NEDO includes SMEs in demonstrations.
The flow of information in Japanese commerce is not digitalized. Thus, companies use paper and PDF, which means that it takes time to reconcile and correct data between the parties. In addition to inefficiencies, the lack of digitalization means that it is difficult for exporters to know the status of the load.
A blockchain is used to securely share data between different parts. NTT provides an API to allow integration with the system and is also considering creating a simple user interface.
NTT, the consortium and NEDO are collaborating on the formulation of data standards and rules for sharing information about trade  There is an existing online system called Nippon Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System (NACCS). It is mainly used for the connection of private car companies and customs for international logistics. NTT plans to coordinate the blockchain system with NACCS.
In addition to the global IBM / Maersk initiative, there are numerous regional projects. In Singapore, there is the Open Trade Blockchain project. In Australia, PwC and the port of Brisbane are creating a supply chain blockchain. Three months ago, two separate plans were announced in the United Arab Emirates. And in South Korea, there is a blockchain driven by their customs service.
Blockchain aims to create a shared source of data and break down silos. But the proliferation of supply blockchains will require many integrations between the various initiatives.