Portbase, the organization that manages numerous Dutch ports’ digital infrastructure, announced that it has begun using the blockchain-enabled TradeLens platform. By doing so, it aims to increase data-sharing, efficiency, and transparency in shipping.
Founded in 2009, Portbase is a non-profit subsidiary of the Rotterdam and Amsterdam’s ports, which own 75% and 25% of it.
Currently, the shipping industry’s processes are costly and time-consuming because of outdated paper-based processes that also allow data to be forged or lost.
TradeLens is a platform and ecosystem built by Maersk and IBM that aspires to remedy this issue through blockchain-based digitization. Apart from integrating with data from its partners, the system uses IoT devices to measure physical aspects of containers and then stores this information on a blockchain.
It has already acquired hundreds of users, including MSC and CMA-CGM, respectively the second and fourth largest shipping companies in the world.
This latest collaboration is in its first phase. Portbase will send customs clearance messages for Maersk containers to TradeLens. In turn, TradeLens will send data to Portbase about events relating to shipments going through the Dutch ports.
Portbase managing director Iwan van der Wolf summarized the use of TradeLens as allowing “all players in the logistical chain to easily, quickly and securely share data with each other, irrespective of their mutual relationship, enhancing trade for everyone involved”.
Lately, TradeLens has further expanded its ecosystem. Last month, YILPORT Holdings, the Turkish group that owns multiple ports across the world, joined it. Earlier on in the year, both the Sri Lankan container terminal SAGT and Standard Chartered also begun using the platform.
TradeLens’ chief competitor in this field is the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN). Though still yet to officially launch, the consortium has already had nine shipping firms sign up as tentative shareholders, notably including TradeLens members Hapag-Lloyd and CMA-CGM.
Portbase shareholder, the Port of Rotterdam, was one of the first to use blockchain and experiments extensively with the technology. Two months ago, it trialed the use of blockchain tokens for the release of containers during unloading.