Digitising the supply chain process (Photo credit: Maersk)

Digitising the supply chain process (Photo credit: Maersk)

Maersk and IBM have unveiled the “first industry-wide” cross-border supply chain solution on blockchain.

According to IBM, 90% of goods in global trade are carried by the ocean shipping industry each year. Their new blockchain solution will do the usual things – help manage and track the paper trail of shipping containers across the world by digitising the supply chain process.

Ibrahim Gokcen, chief digital officer, Maersk, says it expects to “reduce the cost of goods for consumers” and “make global trade more accessible to a much larger number of players from both emerging and developed countries”.

The solution is based on the Hyperledger Fabric. IBM says the solution is expected to be available across the ocean shipping industry later this year.

According to Maersk, it found in 2014 that a shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe can go through nearly 30 people and organisations, including more than 200 different interactions and communications among them.

Trust to trust

This latest blockchain development from IBM follows a variety of other recent activities.

These include working with financial services firm Northern Trust to launch the “first commercial deployment” of blockchain for the private equity market.

A blockchain initiative for trade finance with telecom operator du, Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade, Emirates NBD and Banco Santander.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) also chose IBM, in partnership with Axoni and R3, to provide a blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) framework to drive improvements in derivatives post-trade lifecycle events.