Global container carriers CMA CGM and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have completed the integration process with the TradeLens blockchain, a joint initiative from IBM and Maersk. Both top five container shippers had announced the partnership with the digital network in May of 2019. However, to date any transactions on the platform have been pilots.
Now that they’re live on TradeLens, MSC and CMA CGM plan to make the data for all their containers available to permissioned parties, which should ramp up the network usage. IBM claims that the addition of the two carriers means data on nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo will be available on a single blockchain-based platform.
“Only by working together and agreeing to a shared set of standards and goals are we able to enact the digital transformation that is now touching nearly every part of the global shipping industry,” said Marc Bourdon, CMA CGM SVP.
The integration process has taken over a year and the onboarding involved developing new API capabilities. One of the pilots involved 15-customers with more than 3,000 consignments, 100,000 events and 6,000 containers.
Ledger Insights asked IBM about the status of other announced shipping carrier partners. Apart from Maersk, ZIM completed integration earlier in the year. Hapag-Lloyd and ONE are still in the onboarding process, and IBM didn’t respond about Pacific International Lines (PIL), which ran an electronic Bill of Lading trial with IBM 18 months ago. Since then, PIL announced its participation in the Singapore-based GeTS platform, which has its Open Trade Blockchain.
Nevertheless, CMA CGM and MSC’s integration is an important milestone in the platform’s history. Both corporates will be joining Maersk and IBM as TradeLens’ validators, meaning they will “have dedicated blockchain nodes against which encrypted data can be validated to ensure authenticity as bone fide original documents issued by each of these carriers”. IBM confirmed that they are the only validators apart from IBM and Maersk.
Additionally, CMA CGM and MSC will be promoting TradeLens capabilities and membership to their clients and business partners across the world, which should further expand the network.
Both shipping firms were also recently involved in a pilot with the Port of Rotterdam to use blockchain tokens to authorize the release of containers to transport drivers.