A platform that enables businesses to digitally connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain will soon be fully operational in Bahrain. APM Terminals Bahrain (APMT) chief executive and managing director Susan Hunter told the GDN in an exclusive interview that the operator of the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) has already integrated with the platform known as TradeLens.
Developed by Maersk and IBM and underpinned by blockchain technology, the TradeLens ecosystem comprises over 100 diverse organisations including carriers, ports, terminal operators, third-party logistics providers and freight forwarders.
It also includes shippers from around the world. Together, participants publish and subscribe to data under a shipper determined digital permissioning model.
Hunter said in keeping up with the technological advancements in the logistics and supply chain, APM Terminals Bahrain has been working closely with TradeLens since 2018 and “is currently transmitting data on a trial basis”. “However, we are awaiting the integration with Customs before the trade can benefit. This is expected to happen in the near future.”
KBSP is a multipurpose facility for domestic cargo, cruise traffic and a trans-shipment hub for the growing Gulf shipping market. APMT handles all containerised cargo to and from Bahrain in addition to general cargo. The operator has been working closely with the Economic Development Board, Customs Authorities and Ports and Maritime Affairs and potential customers to make the blockchain technology available to the trade in Bahrain, she added.
The attributes of blockchain technology are ideally suited for large networks of disparate partners. Blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and enables permissioned parties access to secured data in real time. Hunter said, “Many of the processes for transporting and trading goods are costly, in part, due to manual and paper-based systems. Replacing these peer-to-peer and often unreliable information exchanges, the platform enables participants to digitally connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain ecosystem.”
According to her, TradeLens gives users a comprehensive view of their data, allowing them to collaborate as cargo moves around the world, helping create a transparent, secured, immutable record of transactions. As the first woman chief executive of a port operator in Bahrain and the region, Hunter says her first big challenge since taking the helm this February was to keep the momentum going.