TradeLens: powered by blockchain, ready to transform your supply chain

Today I am pleased to announce the official launch of TradeLens, the blockchain-based joint platform created by IBM and Maersk. And most importantly, I want to welcome you to become a part of it.

Why am I so ecstatic about this launch? As someone who had been in the transportation industry for a long time I have seen first-hand the many challenges faced by all entities involved in global trade. I believe TradeLens will provide great solutions to many of these biggest challenges – ones that, in my opinion, simply couldn’t come fast enough.

Because let’s face it, the cost, size and complexity of global supply chains and the world’s trading ecosystems just keeps growing, and as an industry we have made a habit of making a complex business even more complicated by applying solutions of the past instead of embracing the opportunities digitization can provide us all today.

Current problems include:

  • Inconsistent data and inequitable sharing of information across supply chains
  • Continued “blind spots” across organizations and geographic boundaries
  • Complex, cumbersome and often expensive peer-to-peer messaging
  • Too many manual, time-consuming processes that increase costs and delay cargoes
  • Inefficient clearance processes which can open the door to fraud

TradeLens goes to the core of these industry-wide issues by empowering each and every actor in global supply chains to become part of the solution. And here’s what’s at stake when we finally start getting it right:

  • Improved efficiency (= lower costs)
  • Improved effectiveness (= more on-time cargo)
  • Improved data security (= lowered risk)
  • Increased market opportunity (= top line growth for all*)

According to the World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15%, boosting economies and creating jobs around the globe.

Today, we begin to move toward that magic 15%.

TradeLens was created to be fully open and neutral. An environment where every player in the global supply chain can participate and extract significant value. Its ability to streamline and standardize information flows using digital solutions opens the door to unprecedented efficiency gains and new opportunities.

TradeLens is a blockchain enabled tool that helps all partners in your supply chain gain vital access to critical end-to-end supply chain information and data quickly, securely, accurately and seamlessly.

TradeLens is the real deal; a solution that puts all the essential pieces together to digitize the global supply chain through innovations like a shared ledger, smart contracts, encrypted transactions, continuous audit history and transaction endorsement.

TradeLens can help to elevate world trade, and here’s why:

  • It’s a solution for the entire industry. We built it from the ground up to serve every player in the global supply chain. Maersk and IBM collaborated closely in the development of TradeLens, and it is supported by key industry players who serve on our Industry Advisory Board. This inclusive group going forward has a strong voice in its development and direction.
  • Leveraging open standards. We know TradeLens can only be successful if the entire industry is on the same page. TradeLens will work with multilateral organizations such as CEFACT and emerging standards bodies like BiTA and OpenShipping.org to ensure openness and consistency in the information standards employed by this solution.
  • TradeLens connects all the players with the critical information and “paperwork” they need, when and where they need it! It brings together all parties in the supply chain — including traders, freight forwarders, inland transportation, ports and terminals, ocean carriers, customs, government authorities and others — onto a blockchain-based solution with a secure permission and identity framework.
  • This is about true information sharing. TradeLens provides for the seamless, permissioned, and secure sharing of real-time, actionable supply chain information across all parties to a trade. That means shipping milestones, cargo details, trade documents, the structured data embedded in trade documents, customs filings, sensor readings, and more.
  • Now we can get parties collaborating who couldn’t before. TradeLens does it by enabling the digitization and automation of the cross-organization business processes integral to global trade — including import and export clearance — with blockchain ensuring secure, auditable, and verifiable transactions. Similarly, insurance and financial institutions can now collaborate securely with their customers in a completely digital marketplace.
  • TradeLens spurs innovation. It creates the foundation for ongoing improvement and innovation through open, non-proprietary APIs; the use of standards and promotion of interoperability; and the launch of an application ecosystem that parties can use to build and deploy applications for themselves, their partners, and their customers.