American tech company IBM and Danish shipping giant Maersk have been working together for the last year to develop a blockchain-based solution to streamline shipping. Dubbed TradeLens, the project has officially been moved from Beta into limited availability, TechCrunch reports.
General Manager for IBM Blockchain, Marie Wieck says the product digitizes every step of the global trade workflow, transforming it into a real-time communication tool.
TradeLens was developed jointly with IBM providing the blockchain platform, while Maersk supplied the shipping experience. The product involves three steps: the blockchain - the instrument that tracks the goods, APIs that enable others to build new applications on the platform, and a set of standards to facilitate data sharing.
According to the press release, TradeLens can reduce the transit time of packing material to a production line in the US by as much as 40%, reducing costs by thousands of dollars. Through more efficient means of communication, some supply chain participants estimate they could reduce the number of steps needed to answer basic questions like “where is my container?” from 10 steps and five people to one step with one person.
The companies have so far enlisted 94 entities for the platform, which goes into limited availability today and the goal of a full launch by year-end.