Maersk & IBM partner to launch a Blockchain-based shipping company for paperless global trade


Maersk and IBM have said they will launch a joint venture to provide more transparency and simplicity in the movement of goods across borders and trading zones using blockchain technologies.

According to Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture,“By joining our knowledge of trade with IBM’s capabilities in blockchain and enterprise technology, we are confident this new company can make a real difference in shaping the future of global trade.”

The new JV will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and analytics, delivered via IBM Services, in order to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders. Manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities can all benefit from these new technologies –and ultimately consumers.

Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain said, “Our joint venture with Maersk means we can now speed adoption of this exciting technology with the millions of organizations who play vital roles in one of the most complex and important networks in the world, the global supply chain. We believe blockchain will now emerge in this market as the leading way companies seize new untapped economic opportunities.”

The joint venture will now enable IBM and Maersk to commercialize and scale their solutions to a broader group of global corporations, many of whom have already expressed interest in the capabilities and are exploring ways to use the new platform, including: General Motors and Procter and Gamble to streamline the complex supply chains they operate; and freight forwarder and logistic company, Agility Logistics, to provide improved customer services including customs clearance brokerage.

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The firm’s new CEO will be Michael J. White, former president of Maersk Line in North America, as CEO of the new company. The new company initially plans to digitize the global supply chain from end-to-end a shipping information pipeline will provide end-to-end supply chain visibility in real-time and introduce a Paperless Trade by enabling end-users to securely submit, validate and approve documents across organizational boundaries, ultimately helping to reduce the time and cost for clearance and cargo movement.

Blockchain-based smart contracts ensure all required approvals are in place, helping speed up approvals and reducing mistakes.

The new company will be headquartered in the New York metropolitan area.