The blockchain technology, the implementation of smart contracts and the public ledger are surely expanding to more and more applications and everyday life situations. The latest development within the industry involves the transportation and shipping fields as the latest to experiment with the approach in search of smoother and more trustworthy operations.

The Maritime Executive, a very reliable source of maritime news and developments around the world, reported this week that a total of nine prominent terminal operators and shipping businesses have agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, known as MoU, with the intention of launching an open digital platform based on DLT, which is Distributed Ledger Technology.

The Global Shipping Business Network is Born in Shanghai

The MoU signees want to establish a consortium to form a shipping industry blockchain alliance, named the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN.) The document was signed at the China International Import Expo that took place in Shanghai on November 6th.

Of course, unifying criteria of nine of the most prominent companies in the shipping and terminal management industries look like no small feat, so according to the publication, a software solution to run the global shipping business network will be assumed by a Hong   Kong-based firm with experience, skills, and resources to fulfill the task, and its name is CargoSmart.

An Industry in Dire Need of Blockchain Solutions

The portal accurately points out that, despite the technological advances experienced in the last ten or even five years in the planet as a whole, cargo and shipping remain a traditional industry, and the majority of transactions can take a lot of time and pass through more hands that it seems necessary.

For example, the industry manages sales contracts, charter party agreements, bills of lading, port documents, letters of credit and others related with the vessel and the cargo. Sometimes, paperwork takes so long to complete that vessels often arrive at the discharge port before the bills of lading.

It was CargoSmart the firm that started the launch of the blockchain shipping alliance. The first app developed by the recently formed pact is on track to be launched in December 2018. The application, according to the document, “will allow shippers to digitize and organize their dangerous goods documents and automatically connect with relevant parties to streamline the approval process.”

Firms that Form the Strategic Alliance

Some of the companies involved in the alliance are Singaporean firm PSA International, Shanghai International Port Group, which is the most prominent operator of ports in China, French shipping group CMA CGM S.A, and the Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, that is a Taiwanese business.

The Global Shipping Business Network is not the first agreement of its kind in the shipping industry, as Danish logistics and transportation giants Maersk established an alliance with tech company IBM to establish a network based on and supported by blockchain technology that is formed by almost 94 firms around the world. That agreement took place in early August.

By Andres Chavez


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