IBM-Maersk Shipping Blockchain Gains Steam With 15 Carriers Now on Board

IBM has recruited two more major shipping carriers to join the blockchain platform it co-owns with container giant Maersk. 

Announced Tuesday, Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) – the world’s fifth and sixth largest carriers respectively – are the latest ocean carriers to join the TradeLens blockchain.

They follow top-five carriers CMA CGM and MSC, which joined TradeLens last month

Aside from Maersk and its subsidiary Hamburg Süd, TradeLens was launched in early 2018 with just one other shipping carrier, Asia’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), 17th in the world based on cargo volumes. 

Over the course of last year, IBM’s TradeLens struggled to sign up Maersk’s competitors; as CoinDesk reported, rival carriers were put off by IBM and Maersk essentially owning the platform. 

One way or another, those concerns seem to have dissipated as far as competing shipping lines are concerned. TradeLens now boasts 15 ocean carrier lines, including  ZIM, KMTC, Safmarine, Sealand, Seaboard Marine, Namsung, Boluda and APL.

Todd Scott, vice president of supply chain solution sales at IBM Blockchain, said a lot of work had gone into getting the governance right, ensuring data privacy, publishing APIs, and aligning with common standards, known to the shipping and supply chain industry.

Asked if there had been any other fundamental changes to the ownership of the platform, Scott told CoinDesk: 

“The ownership has not changed. TradeLens is still a jointly-owned product, asset, IP etc between IBM and Maersk. That has not changed at all.”

In a statement, Martin Gnass, managing director information technology at Hapag-Lloyd, said: “TradeLens has made significant progress in launching a much-needed transformation in the industry, including its partnership model.”

A spokesman for Hapag-Lloyd told CoinDesk via email:

Concerning TradeLens, we (like other major carriers) were not happy with the initial governance model…

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