Top terminal operators and carriers join for digital transformation of global shipping

Nine leading ocean carriers and terminal operators signed a Declaration of Intent to form a consortium aimed at developing the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology. The signing ceremony took placeat the China International Import Expo inShanghai on 6 November 2018.

The participants include shipping lines CMA CGM, COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Marine, OOCL, and Yang Ming; terminal operators DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA International Pte Ltd, and Shanghai International Port; and software solutions provider CargoSmart.

The formation of the blockchain consortium was initiated by CargoSmart, a Software as a Service (SaaS) global shipping and logistics solutions provider. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Hong Kong, CargoSmart has helped over 160,000 professionals increase delivery reliability, lower transportation costs, and streamline operations. To develop new solutions, CargoSmart is leveraging its deep shipping domain knowledge, big data analytics, and expertise in developing software applications with artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and blockchain technologies.

According to CargoSmart, the new platform will connect all stakeholders, including carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies, shippers, and logistics service providers to enable collaborative innovation and digital transformation in the supply chain.

In particular, the GSBN will be used as a basis for new applications that will change shipment management documentation flow, including dangerous goods documents, invoices, and cargo release. The first application, which is scheduled for release already in December 2018, will allow shippers to digitize and organize their dangerous goods documents and automatically connect with relevant parties to streamline the approval process.

“The GSBN blockchain consortium has the potential to enable faster, more accurate processing of cargo information and more transparency of terminal operations to cargo owners,” said Yan Jun, president of Shanghai International Port.

We already wrote that Maersk and IBM had teamed up to develop a similar product, also based on the blockchain solution. Their global trade digitization platform was launched in 2017 and has been tested by a number of selected partners, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Will these platforms merge in the future or start a new wave of competition remains to be seen.

Julia Louppova:
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