When IBM Blockchain and Maersk created the TradeLens in 2018, the two companies envisioned a world where competing players in every segment of the shipping industry would lay down their swords and work together to trust the incredibly complex exchange of information needed to make the business of moving widgets around the world flow smoothly to a distributed ledger.
Since then, the pandemic has pushed digital transformation down the priority list for shipping lines, port operators, customs agencies, railroads and trucking firms. And while the software developers and the financial services providers that make sure everyone gets paid seem eager to sign on as partners, end-user uptake appears to have slowed.
Indeed, in Maersk’s second-quarter earnings call earlier this month, CEO Soren Skou said the shipping giant is continuing to leverage digitization and automation, but offered scant specifics where the marquee blockchain project was concerned.
That isn’t to say the project hasn’t been a success by many measures. TradeLens now directly integrates with more than 200 ports and terminals, 15-plus customs authorities around the world and an increasing number of intermodal providers and solutions. It has brought together more than 1,000 major entities involved in the global supply chain and today facilitates the information exchange of about 65% of containerized trade via its platform.
And the collaboration expanded on developments during Q2 in several blog posts. However, none of these announcements revealed any major improvements in industry utilization. Instead, the collaboration added integrations with other platforms and governmental consortia, in hopes of making its platform more attractive to the sea shipping industry, which conveys 90% of world trade.
Skyangel, a provider of internet of things (IoT) and GPS monitoring services in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, joined the platform.
The firm provides a wide range of services including a complete system for fleet tracking and security, focused on keeping cargo and people safe across the countries they work in for more than 650 corporate clients.
End-to-end visibility is a core aspect of supply chain operations. To create valuable operational insights, container traceability must monitor where the cargo is located, accommodating different needs according to geographies.
Skyangel will connect to the TradeLens platform providing visibility of core inland and safety milestones. Customers can gain access to this information together with all other milestones across their global shipments.
Bringing upstream and downstream visibility to IoT and GPS monitoring services, Skyangel enriches a TradeLens network built on input from the industry.
#Dltledgers Integrates TradeLens Capabilities
#Dltledgers will incorporate leading supply-chain digitization capabilities from TradeLens into its multiparty platform for the benefit of cross-border trade participants.
#Dltledgers provides cross-border trade and extended supply chain digitization software solutions, helping customers digitize, collaborate and authenticate their trade and supply chain processes.
The collaboration seeks to enable platform participants to digitize their cross-border trade finance transactions end to end.
#Dltledgers customers will be able to access critical events and documents for their container shipments through the TradeLens platform. Both companies aim to ease the adoption of digital solutions for exporters and importers of any size and to reduce the global trade finance gap for the millions of small and midsize businesses that make up global trade.
Leveraging the mutual strengths of each organization allows for digitization, authentication, and collaboration across supply chains, thereby increasing industry innovation, reducing trade friction, and ultimately promoting more global trade, according to TradeLens.
Redefining Britain’s Borders
TradeLens joined a select group of pilot participants to guide the development and adoption of innovative solutions intended to improve the flow of goods in the industry as part of the post-Brexit 2025 U.K. Border Strategy.
As one of six consortia for the U.K. government’s Ecosystem of Trust pilots, TradeLens will play a role in validating, refining and testing a new model that will advance the way the U.K. border operates, the company said.
TradeLens joins this initiative, providing customs authorities and other trade regulators with visibility and improvement to their operational compliance, using digitized documents to expedite clearance processes on a secure network.
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