Saudi Customs Announces Completion of Blockchain Pilot for Cross-Border Trade

The Saudi Arabia’s customs officials made public on December 26 the success of a blockchain pilot that links FASAH, the country’s cross-border trade platform, to TradeLens, a global shipping platform powered by blockchain. As part of  Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the blockchain pilot program is in line with the goal of developing digital infrastructure and diversifying the economy in the country, in hopes of attracting international investors and becoming a logistical hub.

In August 2018, IBM and Maersk showcased the TradeLens platform. During that time, the program already attracted 94 participants and had 154 million shipping events recorded.

The goal of integrating FASAH with TradeLens is to “ensure immutability, traceability, reduced reconciliation, auditability, and compliance” of transactions related to cross-border trading. Saudi Customs believes that blockchain technology has a great role to play in achieving these goals. With blockchain technology, it is possible to “create a real solution for a fragmented peer-to-peer business ecosystem.” The office is also aware of problems inherent to blockchain technology like interoperability of data and scalability.

The announcement expressed Saudi Customs’ aspiration to be one of the major players in advancing the adoption of blockchain technology:

“By being an early adopter to the blockchain, Saudi Customs is committed to educate, experiment and extend to the broader ecosystem by setting realistic expectations, experimenting, understanding the decentralized nature of this technology and preparing to migrate away from the traditional platform technology.”