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Saudi Customs pilots blockchain shipment to Rotterdam using TradeLens

container ship

On the 13th of May Saudi Customs announced it has executed its first blockchain powered shipment on the TradeLens platform. The cargo left from Dammam Port in Saudi Arabia for Rotterdam. For the pilot, the documents and data were processed by all parties to the shipment on FASAH, Saudi Arabia’s national single window for digital cross border trade transactions.

The Saudi Customs’ partnership with TradeLens started last year. The aim is to transform the shipping industry in the region, improving efficiency and transparency and enabling a real-time view of operations.

TradeLens is the blockchain shipping logistics platform co-developed by Maersk and IBM. The solution provides an open and transparent view of a transaction without compromising privacy or confidentiality.

Mohammad Shihab, Managing Director of Maersk Saudi Arabia commented that: “TradeLens offers an opportunity of collaboration and commitment among all stakeholders by building trust through a model that benefits all parties.’

For the pilot shipment, the cargo was initially gated into Dammam Terminal on 27 March. The customer used the TradeLens platform to upload the commercial invoice and packing list, which was then submitted as an export declaration to Saudi Customs. This information was processed and used by Saudi customs to register the clearance.

The container was then loaded onboard Maersk Sebarok, which headed towards Rotterdam. The Dutch customs authority accessed the necessary information directly on the TradeLens platform.

The shipment was a successful demonstration of using blockchain-based documentation by both export and import customs authorities and cargo owners through using the TradeLens platform.

Apart from TradeLens there are several other global blockchain shipping initiatives. The Port of Rotterdam is involved in a separate initiative exploring interoperability between networks together with ABN Amro Bank and Samsung SDS. The Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) includes five of the top ten carriers. There’s also a joint solution between Accenture and the world’s largest freight forwarder, Kuehne + Nagel.