- Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express (ONE) — the world's fifth and sixth largest ocean carriers, respectively — have signed onto TradeLens, the blockchain platform for ocean shipping founded by A.P. Moller - Maersk and IBM, according to a press release emailed to Supply Chain Dive. TradeLens now includes roughly 60% of global shipping volume, based on data from Alphaliner.
- Members have access to a "comprehensive view of their data and can collaborate as cargo moves around the world," according to the release. The platform is already in action in Russia, where Maersk is piloting the technology at a new cold-storage warehouse in St. Petersburg.
- Hapag-Lloyd and ONE will join the TradeLens advisory board and operate their own blockchain nodes, participating in verifying and validating transactions.
From the beginning of the TradeLens initiative in August 2018, it has been clear the effort could not make the desired impact without carriers on board.
The future of the platform came into question in November when nine major ocean carriers and terminal operators agreed to develop a blockchain platform called the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN). Though ancillary partners and ocean shipping stakeholders are important to these industry-wide visibility efforts, carriers are the most important element since their data is what provides value to the other stakeholders. When GSBN launched, the network had more carriers signed on than TradeLens, including the third and fourth ranking lines in the world.
|Global Shipping Business Network
Despite what seems to be growing consensus around the platform, not all top carriers are sold. China's OOCL, owned by COSCO, reportedly has no intention to join the platform, favoring rival GSBN, according to ShippingWatch. OOCL owns the CargoSmart platform, which provides the digital backbone for GSBN.
Now that most carriers are on board with at least one of the major initiatives — Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is the only top line remaining uncommitted and CMA CGM has signed on to both — the most pressing task is developing industry-wide standards so data from the various carriers can be integrated and shared.
Another industry-wide effort, the Digital Container Shipping Association, is charged with this task. Its membership includes nine of the top 11 carriers, with China's OOCL and Singapore's PIL the only holdouts of the group.