IBM and Maersk drop blockchain joint venture plan

IBM and shipping group Maersk said they will not go ahead with a joint venture to boost the sale of blockchain solution for the container shipping industry.
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Since announcing the solution to digitize global trade in January 2018, IBM and Maersk have modified the go to market model and will now deliver their solution through an extension of their pre-existing agreement instead of a joint venture, IBM said.

IBM and shipping group Maersk said 94 companies and organizations joined a blockchain platform developed with IBM aimed at boosting efficiency and limiting the paper trail of global container shipping.

Blockchain technology powers the digital currency bitcoin and enables data sharing across a network of individual computers.

The platform named TradeLens aims to help manage and track the paper trail by digitizing the supply chain process from end to end.

During the 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM worked with dozens of ecosystem partners to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments.

One example demonstrated how TradeLens can reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by 40 percent, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost.

The global blockchain market is expected to grow from $212,12 million 2016 to $8,682.82 million by the end of 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 59.04 percent, according to a report from Research and Markets.

“Blockchain can play an important role in digitizing global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves four trillion dollars of goods every year,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain.

Port operators in Singapore, Hong Kong and Rotterdam, customs authorities in the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and Peru, and container carrier Pacific International Lines (PIL) are among the companies and organizations that have joined the platform.

“As a global logistics provider, CEVA sees an opportunity in TradeLens, joining forces with IBM, Maersk and other actors from our industry to promote global standards around an open and neutral solution, delivering on the promise of blockchain,” said Christophe Cachat, CIO of CEVA Logistics.

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