OneConnect and China Merchants Port Group are collaborating to build a blockchain platform for ports in south China, reported China News. OneConnect, which recently listed on the NYSE, is a spin off from Chinese insurer Ping An.
The initiative will work on the digitization of ports and upgrade trade processes for greater efficiency. The project’s name is a bit of a mouthful: the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Logistics and Trade Facilitation Blockchain Platform Project.
In the first phase, the two companies will work on building a smart port logistics platform that connects stakeholders such as the customs department, port operator, carriers, shippers, freight forwarder and financial institutions.
The next stage will focus on enabling better information and capital flow through a trade blockchain. With blockchain as the single source of truth, it becomes easier to share trusted data across the network participants and reduce disputes.
Meanwhile, banks, insurers, and other financial institutions get a good picture of the trade flows, which enables them to assess risks better and provide credit.
“Last year that Shenzhen Customs, China Merchants and Ping An began to launch blockchain technology across ports,” said Chen Xiaoying, Commissioner Shenzhen Customs. “After in-depth exchanges, repeated demonstrations, and continuous polishing, today has finally ushered in this milestone moment, which marks the project’s transition from applied research to practical exploration.”
Based on the data from the logistics and trade blockchains, the companies will build five databases containing information about — enterprises, commodities, logistics, contracts, and documents.
China Merchants Port and OneConnect will work with the customs departments in Pearl River Delta to build a connected port ecosystem. The China News report mentions the formation of a Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Logistics blockchain alliance, which indicates that other stakeholders may join the project soon.
Late last year, OneConnect raised $312 million in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) at a valuation of about $3.7 billion. Although the company markets itself as an AI firm, it has several other technologies it offers to the financial industry, including blockchain and IoT. A majority of China’s big banks and city commercial banks are clients of OneConnect. ANd Japan’s SoftBank is an investor in OneConnect.
Previously, the company demonstrated its blockchain capabilities for Thailand’s National Digital Trade Platform.