On 10 November 2020, International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) announced it is joining TradeLens, the blockchain platform developed by IBM and Maersk. The global terminal operator will connect all 31 of its terminals, spanning six continents, to the platform, allowing the terminals to track and trace cargo even before it arrives. Philippines headquartered ICTSI hopes this will allow clients to have faster access to more detailed information.
Powered by IBM Blockchain and IBM Cloud, TradeLens connects supply chain actors, from cargo owners to customs authorities, for near-real-time, end-to-end tracking of cargo. The platform’s system enables only permissioned supply chain actors to view, use, and edit the shipment data. Blockchain technology enhances the privacy, security, and traceability of the information.
ICTSI Vice President and Chief Information Officer Brian Hibbert confirmed they are currently testing the system and transferring the necessary data to the platform. Hibbert said, “After complete integration of the system, we will be able to optimize work with regulatory authorities, improve our terminals’ visibility to what is coming to them as well as receive updates from the sea carriers online.”
Over 175 organizations currently utilize TradeLens. According to its website, TradeLens has already processed over 31 million container shipments. Regarding ICTSI’s partnership, TradeLens’ Director of Network Development, Thomas Sproat, said, “The broadening geographic scope of the platform is bolstered by the addition of ICTSI and provides new opportunities for TradeLens participants as the ecosystem continues to expand rapidly.”
Launched in 2018, TradeLens is now working with some of the world’s largest port operators.
In May 2020, Maersk announced that Dubai-based port operator and logistics firm DP World completed the initial integration with TradeLens, already using the platform in India’s Cochin Port. To appreciate the scale of DP World’s operations, its terminals handled 71.2 million TEU (Twenty-Food Equivalent Unit) containers in 2019, whereas ICTSI handles over 10 million TEUs each year. In August, Turkish ports group YILPORT Holdings signed a contract with Maersk, integrating the TradeLens platform. YILPort, which plans to become a top ten global operator by 2025, owns ports all over the globe, from South America to Scandinavia.
TradeLens is not only limited to oceanic shipments. Transcontinental railway firm Canadian Pacific joined the platform last month to deploy the system within its documentation process. In May, Standard Chartered also announced its involvement in the platform, with TradeLens providing the bank access to data underpinning some of its trade finance business.