IBM, Maersk blockchain platform to digitize global trade

January 16, 2018 // By Rich Pell
IBM, Maersk blockchain platform to digitize global trade
IBM (Armonk, NY) and shipping giant Maersk (Copenhagen, Denmark) have announced plans for a joint venture to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.

The goal of the new venture, say the companies, will be to offer a jointly developed open-standards global trade digitization platform designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem. It will address the need to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones.

The required trade documentation costs to process and administer many of the more than 4$ trillion in goods that are shipped each year is estimated to reach as much as one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs. By reducing barriers within the international supply chain, the World Economic Forum estimates that global trade could increase by nearly 15%, boosting economies and creating jobs.

A distributed ledger technology like Blockchain, says IBM, is ideally suited to large networks of disparate partners by establishing a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enabling permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time. When applied to digitizing global trade processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information, enabling multiple trading partners to collaborate and establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy, or confidentiality.

The new joint venture will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and analytics, delivered via IBM Services, to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders. Manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities - and ultimately consumers - can all benefit from these new technologies, say the companies.

"This new company marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitization of global trade," says Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture. "The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe

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