After early marketing efforts failed to produce results, two major marine cargo carriers have finally signed on to TradeLens, the shipping blockchain platform developed by IBM and Maersk.
The two new additions are Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), who is just behind Maersk in terms of size, and CMA-CGM, the fourth largest cargo carrier in terms of carrying capacity.
This brings the number of carriers that have signed on for TradeLens up to 16. MSC and CMA-CGM join Asia’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and Maersk subsidiary Hamburg Süd, among others.
Combined, these carriers account for nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo data. Aside from the big-name cargo carriers, TradeLens also plays host to over 100 supply chain operators from the shipping and freight forwarding industries.
Bringing two big Maersk rivals on board is a notable coup for TradeLens. In its early days, the platform faced significant difficulties due to concerns over IBM and Maersk owning the intellectual property.
While IBM and Maersk are still the sole owners of TradeLens, an IBM spokeswoman emphasized that the blockchain platform’s aim is to create an ecosystem where even competitors can co-exist.
“The nature of an effective blockchain is to create an environment where multiple parties, often competitors, want to co-exist,” she said. “Both CMA-CGM and MSC are participating on the advisory board as part of the shared commitment to open governance.”
Marie Wieck, general manager for IBM Blockchain, further explained that each company has full ownership and control over their own data.
“They [carriers] they took a good hard look at this and saw the clear benefits of joining,” she said. “This is real momentum that you are seeing in the market play out here. Now with CMA-GGM and MSC it really has reached a tipping point in terms of market maturity.”
Keeping the platform neutral
CCA-GGM and MSC will operate a blockchain node on TradeLens’s distributed ledger and will join in consensus for transaction validation. They will assume critical roles as Trust Anchors, or validators, for the network. Both companies will also be on the TradeLens Advisory Board to ensure the platform remains neutral.
“We believe that TradeLens, with its commitment to open standards and open governance, is a key platform to help usher in this digital transformation,” said Rajesh Krishnamurthy, executive vice president for IT and transformations at CMA CGM Group, in a statement.
”TradeLens’ network is already showing that participants from across the supply chain ecosystem can derive significant value.”
MSC chief digital and information André Simha added, “The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards.”
“We think that the TradeLens Advisory Board, as well as standards bodies such as the Digital Container Shipping Association, will help accelerate that effort.”