Two of the largest shipping groups join Maersk’s blockchain platform

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and CMA CGM, two of the largest container shipping groups in the world are joining Maersk’s blockchain platform. According to a report by Reuters, the two join more than 100 other participants in TradeLens, the blockchain platform that was conceived by a partnership between the Danish shipping giant Maersk and New York-based tech giant IBM.

MSC, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland and CMA CGM, based in Marseille, France are the second and fourth-largest container shipping companies in the world respectively.

The inclusion of the two giants is a big step towards making the blockchain platform ubiquitous in the industry. Together with Maersk, the three companies account for half of all the cargo shipped by sea. According to a statement by Maersk, more than $4 trillion worth of goods are transported by sea which accounts for 80% of all the goods that consumers use daily.

The shipping industry has seen little innovation, despite being one of the oldest industries in the world. A vast majority of the processes still date back decades, despite the advancement of technology. TradeLens intends on changing this, starting with the bulky paper trail associated with the industry.

Vincent Clerc, the executive vice president at Maersk, stated that it was about time the shipping industry adapted to new technology. “Still lots of processes in our industry actually predate the container,” he bemoaned. He gave the high cost of paperwork as a prime example, revealing that it accounts for 20% on average of the cost of shipping a container from one place to another. TradeLens will shed off a huge portion of that cost he stated.

Executives at CMA CGM and MSC also praised the platform, with the former’s chairman Rodolphe Saade viewing the collaboration as setting the standard for an industry desperate for innovation. CMA CGM is also a member of GSBN, a blockchain initiative with Asian shipping firms.

IBM and Maersk launched TradeLens back in August last year to digitize the supply chain industry. The platform has grown and now consists of over 100 firms. They include shipping giants such as PIL, supply chain management companies such as Ceva, ports such as Port of Halifax in Canada and logistics companies like Agility.

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