Yesterday, Standard Chartered bank announced it is joining the TradeLens blockchain container shipping platform.
Jointly developed by IBM and Maersk, TradeLens aims to digitize the container shipping industry and enable transparency in supply chains. Currently, transport and trade of goods are costly and time-consuming due to reliance on paper-based processes. By using blockchain, participants can securely share information and collaborate using a single platform.
“The trade ecosystem has complex processes, slow turnaround times, high paper-based manual documentation and limited connectivity between the various parties involved and it remains a major pain point in the centuries-old trade finance industry,” said said Aarthi Fernandez, COO Trade, Singapore & South East Asia and Global Head of Trade Operations, Standard Chartered Bank.
The TradeLens blockchain platform integrates IoT devices to measure physical aspects such as temperature and container weight, among other things. The platform is trying to bring cargo owners, freight forwarders, rail and trucking providers, ports, terminals, ocean carriers, customs, and other government authorities onto a single platform.
Since its launch, TradeLens has processed 15 million containers worldwide, and now has a network of 150 members. The platform has five of the top six ocean carriers as members, who represent over half the world’s container cargo capacity.
For the bank, TradeLens provides access to the data that underpins some of its trade finance business.
“The partnership with TradeLens equips Standard Chartered Bank with reliable real-time information to validate and protect the integrity of transactions and thus deliver fast and safe service to our clients,” Fernandez added.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered is also part of several blockchain initiatives across the globe. The bank is one of the founders of the Voltron Letter of Credit blockchain, recently renamed as the Contour trade finance network.
Last year, StanChart supported IFFCO Singapore to test its trade finance blockchain platform. The bank was also involved in financing a cross-border transaction for a shipment of chickpeas from Australia to Singapore.