Maersk-IBM Blockchain JV Secures First Freight Forwarder
Agility has become the first freight forwarder to collaborate on a Maersk-IBM blockchain solution that will manage and track container shipments using a distributed ledger.
The publicly traded logistics company, which has $4 billion in revenue and more than 22,000 employees in over 500 offices across 100 countries, will identify events associated with individual shipments and share and receive the information through blockchain technology developed by IBM and Maersk.
Agility’s goal is to reduce costs and increase shipping efficiency by integrating information about shipments onto a secure platform accessible to shippers, carriers, freight forwarders and others in the supply chain.
Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of Agility Global Integrated Logistics, said: “Blockchain technology is going to make shipping cheaper, safer and more reliable.
"As early adopters, companies like Agility can help Maersk and IBM understand the needs of shippers and develop standards that will make trade more efficient.
“We can help customers understand how to use blockchain to improve shipment visibility, eliminate paperwork, reduce errors, and shorten transit and clearance times.”
Blockchain, a secure, immutable and tamper-resistant ledger that can be used to track shipments, documentation and payment transactions, can connect parties in the supply chain, giving them access to information and real-time visibility based on their level of permission.
IBM and Maersk Demo: Cross-Border Supply Chain Solution on Blockchain:
Read a technical paper by Karim Jabbar, Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen, and Deanna MacDonald, CEO, Blockchain Labs for Open Collaboration, on the opportunities for the use of container streams as an interoperable blockchain-enabled, DLT-based system for the shipping industry
Documentation and administration are estimated to be one-fifth of the $1.8 trillion spent annually to move goods across borders.
In addition to showing the location of containers in transit, blockchain can show the status of customs documents, bills of lading and other documentation.
It can improve workflow, cut processing costs and enhance visibility by integrating shipping processes and partners.
Customs and border authorities can use the technology to improve the information available for risk analysis, leading to increased safety and security as well as greater efficiency in border inspection clearance.
Al-Saleh concluded: “For Agility, it’s important to be involved early in blockchain and to work with forward-thinking companies like Maersk and IBM.
“Together, we have a lot to learn and share in order to bring the benefits of this technology to shippers and consumers as quickly as possible.”