Blockchain To Be A Gamechanger For Global Shipping

The souls that operate maritime shipping operations have been described as “Optimists of the First Degree” as the level of global trade is impacted by Trumps China tariffs and the gloomy forecasts for global economic growth resonate.

It may be that the issues that face the shipping business are so large as to be too great for any one operator to solve on their own and so a new era of “collaborative capitalism” has arrived. One wonders if such a move has a hint of trying to legitimize oligopoly as a desirable economic structure.

To illustrate what I mean consider the fact that several of the world’s largest maritime carriers have joined the “TradeLens” blockchain platform that is co-owned by IBM and the container giant Maersk.

Digital ledger technology, or blockchain, could eliminate or drastically reduce the paperwork which is such a big part of shipping. Large amounts of documents accompany transactions, including bills of lading, sales contracts, letters of credit, charter party contracts, port documents etc. These documents pass through a host of different parties for the carriage and delivery of the cargo to materialise and payments to be made, processes that are long and time-consuming.

We can be sceptical about cryptocurrencies, however, the blockchain technology behind them is a dynamic game changer. It has the power to radically overhaul the reams of paper such as “Bills of Lading”, “Authority To Move Goods” etc and create a revolution by turning the shipping of goods into paperless, online environment. This would liberate all parties in each transaction using public and private keys to execute physical transactions, exchange and allow the storing of sensitive information in an encrypted format. This will allow a seamless delivery of contractual obligations, present and accept instructions and…

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