Freight forwarder OOCL Logistics says it successfully ran a pilot at the Port of Rotterdam for the blockchain-based Cargo Release application from the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN). The cargo involved belonged to SUMEC, a state-controlled Chinese firm that deals with industrial machinery.
GSBN aims to provide a fully digital solution, reducing the delays and inefficiencies involved in exchanging paper documents. Cargo Release enables all the relevant parties to share the digital solution.
The GSBN is Hong-Kong based but recently expanded its operations to Europe. It’s backed by state-owned shipping company COSCO SHIPPING, COSCO-owned OOCL, and Hapag Lloyd, as well as several ports, including Hutchison Ports. Two of those companies, COSCO and Hutchison were also involved in the pilot.
“Freight forwarders have a unique opportunity to further enhance global supply chains through digitalization and data,” said Ms. Xiang Chen, CEO of OOCL Logistics.
Early last year GSBN was incorporated, and it says it has now served more than 10,000 customers in China and Southeast Asia. Later in the year, it also signed up three major banks, Bank of China (Hong Kong), HSBC and DBS Bank, to participate in trade finance.
When we spoke to GSBN’s CEO Bertrand Chen last year, container costs were hovering around $10,000, more than five times the 2019 price. Even now, the figure is around $8,000, so shipping companies are flush with cash. Combined with supply chain disruptions Chen commented, “If we cannot digitize now, we’ll never be able to digitize.”