IBM and Maersk Blockchaining the shipping industry
IBM and Maersk are using a blockchain built on the Hyperledger Fabric to manage the supply chain for container shipping. Maersk has carried out a proof of concept with IBM where they tracked a container of flowers from Mombasa Kenya to Rotterdam Netherlands.
Ramesh Gopinath, IBM’s vice president of blockchain research, said all the documents for shipping containers can be fully digitized and the containers can be tracked. In the September POC, the shipping cost $2,000 and the paperwork could be about $300, or 15 percent of the cargo’s value.
Traditionally, a simple shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe can go through nearly 30 people and organizations, including more than 200 different interactions and communications among them, said the IBM announcement.
Using digital records and a blockchain can sharply reduce costs, although the actual savings won’t be known for a year or two until the blockchain is more widely used.
“Global trade $20 trillion, big chunk of global GDP, and container shipping is a huge part of it,’ said Gopinath. “Fifty percent travels on containers. When I walk into any store to buy something, it likely came on a ship.”