A.P. Moller - Maersk and IBM are set to
establish a joint venture to provide more efficient and secure methods for
conducting global trade using blockchain technology.
The aim of the new company will be to
offer a jointly developed global trade digitisation platform built on open
standards and designed for use by the entire global shipping ecosystem. It will
address the need to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of
goods across borders and trading zones.
Maersk, a global leader in container
logistics, and IBM, a leading provider of blockchain, supply chain visibility
and interoperability solutions for the enterprise, will use blockchain
technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open
source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and analytics,
delivered via IBM Services, in order to help companies move and track goods
digitally across international borders. Manufacturers, shipping lines, freight
forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities can all benefit
from these new technologies -and ultimately consumers.
"This new company marks a milestone
in our strategic efforts to drive the digitization of global trade. The
potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways
of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain
stand to benefit," said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk
and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture. "By joining our
knowledge of trade with IBM's capabilities in blockchain and enterprise
technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in
shaping the future of global trade."
IBM and Maersk began collaboration in
June 2016 to build new blockchain- and cloud-based technologies. Since then,
multiple parties have piloted the platform including DuPont, Dow Chemical,
Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs
Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The joint venture will now enable IBM
and Maersk to commercialize and scale their solutions to a broader group of
"The major advances IBM has made in
blockchain have shown that the technology can foster new business models and
play an important role in how the world works by building smarter
businesses," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global
Industries, Solutions and Blockchain. "Our joint venture with Maersk means
we can now speed adoption of this exciting technology with the millions of
organizations who play vital roles in one of the most complex and important
networks in the world, the global supply chain. We believe blockchain will now
emerge in this market as the leading way companies seize new untapped economic
Additional customs and government
authorities, including Singapore Customs and Peruvian Customs, will explore
collaborating with the platform to facilitate trade flows and enhance supply
chain security. To address the specific needs of the industry, Maersk and IBM
are establishing an advisory board of industry experts to help further shape
the platform and services, provide guidance and feedback on important industry
factors, and drive open standards.
Maersk and IBM have named Michael J
White, former president of Maersk Line in North America, as CEO of the new
company. He commented, "Across the industry, there is considerable demand
for efficiency gains and opportunities coming from streamlining and
standardizing information flows using digital solutions. Our ambition is to
apply these learnings to establish a fully open platform whereby all players in
the global supply chain can participate and extract significant value."
The new company initially plans to
commercialize two core capabilities aimed at digitizing the global supply chain
information pipeline that
will provide end-to-end supply chain visibility to enable all actors involved
in managing a supply chain to securely and seamlessly exchange information
about shipment events in real time.
digitize and automate paperwork filings by enabling end-users to securely
submit, validate and approve documents across organizational boundaries,
ultimately helping to reduce the time and cost for clearance and cargo
movement. Blockchain-based smart contracts ensure all required approvals are in
place, helping speed up approvals and reducing mistakes.
Upon regulatory clearance, solutions
from the joint venture are expected to become available within six months.
The platform is built on IBM Blockchain
technology, which is provided through the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger
Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted
by the Linux Foundation.
The establishment of the
joint venture remains subject to receipt of regulatory approvals.