Following the past summer’s cyberattack that hobbled operations at FedEx’s subsidiary TNT Express, blockchain technology is gaining traction as a promising way to offset security risks. Earlier this week, IBM and seafreight giant Maersk – itself a victim of a 2017 cyberattack – announced plans to extend their existing partnership and create a joint venture to develop a global trade digitalization platform using blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology works by establishing a shared, automated record of all the transactions that occur in a network and grants trusted parties exclusive access to the data in real time. The companies hope that introducing the technology as a way of digitalizing global trade will allow for clarity among all trade partners without compromising security or privacy.
In addition to using blockchain technology, the JV platform will likely use other cloud-based, open-source technology, including artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT) and data analytics via IBM Services, to allow for tracking traded goods across borders. The companies expect manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, and customs authorities to benefit from the application of the new technologies to trade.
“The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit,” said Vincent Clerc, Maersk’s chief commercial officer and future chairman of the new JV.
Initial plans for the platform include two core capabilities: a shipping information pipeline, granting end-to-end supply chain visibility; and paperless trade, with digitalization and automated filing of all trade paperwork. Once the processes receive regulatory clearance, Maersk and IBM expect the offerings to become available within six months.
For more on the JV, see the video below: