IBM, the global technology and innovation company and Maersk, the global leader in container shipping and ports, have come together to launch a blockchain technology platform that will work towards digitising the shipping industry along with the documentation that goes with it

The companies will put to use the currently in trend blockchain technology to conduct, track and manage transactions in the shipping supply chain. The two companies, who are global leaders in their own respective sectors, have joined hands to create blockchain tools for cross-border transactions among shippers, ocean carriers, ports, customs authorities and freight forwarders.

Built on Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger platform, IBM's and Maersk's blockchain platform is expected to go into production later this year. The platform has been conceived with an aim of replacing the currently existing paper-heavy manual processes in the shipping industry with blockchain so as to secure data sharing and improve transparency.

According to several experts, the blockchain technology holds a huge potential for supply chain applications because the private and secure transactions can extensively help in cutting fraud, digitising processes, strengthening inventory management support and save time and money at the same time.

Reportedly, the Danish shipping company has already done a proof of concept (POC) with IBM in September last year when it tracked a container of flowers from Mombasa, on the coast of Kenya, to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Billions of dollars can be saved simply by improving visibility and workflow with trade documentation processing. Here's exactly how blockchain will help the shipping industry:

1) Blockchain will give each participating party in the trade visibility.

2) The progress of goods can be checked by the supply chain ecosystem through a network with customs status, data and bills.

3) All the supply chain events and documents exchanges can happen in real time.

4) No party involved in the trade will have the power to modify, delete or append a record without having received consensus from others in the network.

5) Transparency will help in cutting fraud and reducing the time taken by products in transit.

IBM started working with Maersk in late 2015 to explore innovative ways to digitise paper records. Prior to this, IBM also entered into a partnership with India's Mahindra Group to develop blockchain-based supply chain applications. The project, a first of its kind in India outside of the traditional banking domain, aims to step up transparency and security between supplier-to-manufacturer trade through a permissioned distributed ledger.

[Top Image: ibtimes]

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