IBM (NYSE: IBM) and A.P. Moller–Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) today announced that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has agreed to pilot TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled digital shipping solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM to promote more efficient and secure global trade.
To facilitate the flow of legitimate travellers and trade across the busy Canadian border, on an average day, the CBSA processes over 58,600 commercial releases, 14,400 trucks, 240,000 mail items, and 127,400 courier shipments, collecting more than $88,200,000 (CDN) in duty and taxes.
Like all global border agencies, the CBSA is constantly striving to increase efficiencies for the increasing number of people and commercial goods passing through Canada’s ports of entry, while upholding national security and public safety priorities. The CBSA is participating in the TradeLens pilot to determine what role the platform could play in its business processes. Ultimately, the goal for the Agency is to see if this type of solution can help improve the quality and timeliness of commercial data, increase visibility to cargo movement past the first port of arrival and reduce the number of transactions necessary to make a release decision for shipments.
“This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner,” said John Ossowski, President, CBSA. “TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada’s economic output.”
Maersk and IBM have worked with dozens of shippers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, and inland transportation and customs authorities to identify opportunities to prevent delays caused by documentation errors, information delays, and other impediments facing the industry. TradeLens participants can track critical import and export data in real-time with a secure, non-repudiable audit trail.
Mike White, who leads TradeLens for Maersk, said “We look forward to working with the CBSA to pilot how the quality and timeliness of data in TradeLens can act as a catalyst for significant productivity gains and optimized financial cycles. Our goal is to play a leading role with all members of the World Customs Organization to help them attain faster processing of global trade data into a more effective, simplified structure and process that addresses their current challenges and future needs to improve the customer experience.”
Maersk North America President, Omar Shamsie, added “We are delighted to see the CBSA pilot this solution to create a more productive and reliable ecosystem for North America supply chain competitiveness.”
Maersk Canada President Jack Mahoney attended the signing ceremony, commenting “On a national level, Maersk Canada’s strategic plan places great emphasis on the country’s trade development goals – and the appeal of the TradeLens neutral platform solution is a key pillar of this.”
Hosted on IBM Cloud and built on open industry standards, TradeLens has been proven to reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by as much as 40 percent, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost. Through better visibility and more efficient means of communicating, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the steps taken to answer basic operational questions such as “where is my container” from 10 steps and five people to, with TradeLens, one step and one person. This efficiency gain ensures that the remaining four personnel can then focus on more complex initiatives across the sector.
“We believe blockchain can play an integral role in digitizing and reinventing shipping for agencies like the Canada Border Services Agency, who are responsible for moving nearly 500,000 commercial transactions safely across Canadian borders daily. TradeLens provides a common approach to building a strong, secure and connected digital trade network that benefits all participants equally,” said Ayman Antoun, president, IBM Canada. “Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted as members like the CBSA and Port of Montreal begin to interact more efficiently, securely sharing important transactions through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents.”
The TradeLens solution is available today through a Limited Availability offering. TradeLens is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.
About the CBSA
The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety priorities and facilitate the flow of persons and goods, including animals and plants, that meet all requirements under the program legislation.
A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 76,000 people. For more information about Maersk, visit https://maersk.com/ or follow us on Twitter at @maersk.
IBM is the leader in open-source blockchain solutions built for the enterprise. As an early member of Hyperledger and active contributor to the Hyperledger Fabric and Stellar blockchain projects, IBM is dedicated to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies supporting the development of openly-governed transactional business networks. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management and healthcare to implement blockchain applications. For more information about IBM Blockchain, visit https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/.