Today TradeLens, the joint IBM / Maersk blockchain initiative announced the addition of two major shippers MSC and CMA-CGM. They are the second and fourth largest carriers in the world which makes TradeLens the blockchain platform with data on the largest proportion of shipping containers. TradeLens aims to enhance transparency and efficiency for global shipping.
This is a massive win for the platform. There have been concerns that with Maersk as one of the founding partners it would be hard to attract other major shipping companies. Apart from Maersk, existing shipping members include Maersk subsidiary Hamburg Sud as well as the world’s tenth and eleventh largest carriers Pacific International Lines (PIL) and Israeli shipper ZIM which joined last month.
Update: Just over a month later, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express joined TradeLens.
“Digitization is a cornerstone of the CMA CGM Group’s strategy to provide an end-to-end offer tailored to our customers’ needs. We believe that TradeLens, with its commitment to open standards and open governance, is a key platform to help usher in this digital transformation,” said Rajesh Krishnamurthy, EVP, IT & Transformations, CMA CGM Group.
The company is also a member of the Global Shipping Business Network, which assuming CMA CGM is still a member, covers just over 30% of shipping freight. Last month CMA CGM acquired CEVA Logistics one of the major ocean freight forwarders.
The two shippers will also act as validators on the blockchain network and plan to build complementary services.
“Digital collaboration is a key to the evolution of the container shipping industry. The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards,” said André Simha, Chief Digital & Information Officer, MSC. “We think that the TradeLens Advisory Board, as well as standards bodies such as the Digital Container Shipping Association, will help accelerate that effort.”
TradeLens now has more than 100 organizations signd up. Customs clearance is an area that many in the logistics sector believe is a natural blockchain use case. TradeLens boasts several customs members including the US Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency and the Customs Administration of the Netherlands. Last week Saudi Customs announced its first pilot shipment on the platform.
It was also revealed that Procter & Gamble is testing the platform. “P&G ships a significant volume of ocean containers every year,” said Michelle Eggers, Director Global Logistics Purchases, P&G. “Whether filled with our products or the materials used in production, understanding the status of our containers helps us manage an efficient supply chain.”
“We are convinced that the industry will benefit from the transparency and accuracy of blockchain solutions and we are pleased to see MSC, CMA CGM, and Maersk all on the TradeLens platform. We have been testing TradeLens for the P&G business and see potential as the solution scales.”