“Digitization Will Change the Shipping Industry” by MAERSK CEO

30 May 2019

Søren Skou CEO, A.P. Moller - Maersk

I strongly believe that digitization will change the shipping industry, the same way as it has done in many other industries. Digitization will enable us to serve our customers better while at the same time becoming more efficient. These benefits will be realized faster if we work together, why I am pleased that more and more partners are joining the blockchain shipping platform TradeLens. The latest with CMA-CGM and MSC.

TradeLens is a neutral, standardized platform, jointly developed by IBM and Maersk. The purpose of TradeLens is to provide customers with:

  1. A whole new level of robust and real-time visibility of container and document events, based on hooking up terminals, inland service providers, carriers, forwarders, customs authorities, banks etc. to the platform, having them provide data on events straight into the platform.
  2. A digital solution for their documents, in the first instances digital copies in a structured or unstructured form of documents such as the Bill of Lading, commercial invoices and packing lists and later substituting paper copies as we know them today with block chain enabled digital keys.

The platform will be built on the industry standards for how we define events, data sets etc., and TradeLens has committed to use the standards that are being developed by Digital Shipping Standards Association (DCSA).

TradeLens will also actively collaborate with other forums as appropriate to build consensus for new standards as they emerge and will continue to ensure dialogue and alignment with DCSA as they move forward.

So far, the initiative has generated lots of interest with BCOSs and Freight Forwarders, as well as customs authorities. Moreover, many suppliers to the industry, such as terminals and inland providers, also see the value in joining such a platform which can enhance their visibility and operational efficiencies.

The value of the platform will increase with its number of users. And today, more than 100 participants across the supply chain eco system have signed up on TradeLens, which is already processing over ten million discrete shipping events and thousands of documents each week.

We usually say that document handling is the unfinished part of containerization as many processes used today in shipping predate the container. However, through partnerships and industry standards we are reducing complexity and modernizing the supply chains of our customers.