Global Trade

New blockchain technology seeks to track one-third of all shipping containers worldwide

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International shipping company Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has launched a new blockchain-based network that could track one-third of shipping containers around the world. By 2020, the GSBN will be composed of eight worldwide national freight maritime cargo businesses that will work together to develop a blockchain platform that will automate shipping procedures such as document issuance, clearance, and logistics data.

After GSBN’s blockchain platform is fully employed, it’s estimated that GSBN’s members “account for one out of every three containers handled in the globe”. The GSBN announced the launch of the new blockchain platform on Sept. 8 in partnership with Oracle, Microsoft Azure, AntChain and Alibaba Cloud.

“As an independent consortium, it chose a best-of-breed approach to technology to ensure the infrastructure is strong, reliable and highly scalable,” the announcement read. On the other hand, Oracle’s global commerce operating system and Azure’s service reliability in Southeast Asia were cited as reasons for the cooperation. China will be using Ant Group and Alibaba Cloud.

Encryption of the data before it is delivered to GSBN’s blockchain platform ensures information control by GSBN, preventing unauthorised access by members. “Different and frequently conflicting market participants” can be brought together by blockchain technology, according to the consortium. With “Cargo Release” in July 2017, the GSBN introduced its first blockchain-based application meant to save processing time by eliminating paper and storing data on blockchains, in order to improve efficiency.

Two of the world’s major container carriers, CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping, announced a full integration onto IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens blockchain technology at the same time the GSBN was formed in October last year.

Although TradeLens is not the only platform that offers supply chain digitization services, CMA CGM and MSC integration introduced data from approximately half of the world’s ocean container traffic to its network.