Four of the largest shipping lines and five ports operators committed to support a blockchain development platform for the shipping industry.
Hong Kong-based CargoSmart said the agreement with CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping Lines (HKEX: 1919), Orient Overseas Container Line (HKEX: 316), Hapag-Lloyd (FSE: HLAG), along with Cosco Shipping Ports, Hutchison Ports, Port of Qingdao, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group will help establish the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN).
Under the deal, each company said it will work toward obtaining the regulatory, competition and antitrust approvals for establishing the GSBN. Once it is set up, the GSBN participants plan to “work collaboratively to accelerate technology innovation and develop solutions through trusted and secure data exchange platforms.”
The not-for-profit joint venture will allow shipping and port operators to work together on software and other services that leverages artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and blockchain. GSBN said it “will provide shipment visibility and transparency through a trusted data source.”
The GSBN efforts to help establish a new blockchain group comes as a number of technology start-ups address the maritime industry. The world’s largest shipping line Maersk (Nasdaq OMX: MAER.B) has also established a blockchain collaboration platform, TradeLens, along with IBM (NYSE: IBM).
The GSBN said that the signatories will establish strong data management and governance frameworks, including the principle that participants should retain control over their data being shared through the GSBN.
Upon its establishment, it is envisioned that in addition to establishing a data governance framework, once it is formed the GSBN will also consider and lead the development of a roadmap of use cases, application programming interfaces and applications.
GSBN said it expects to receive anti-trust, competition and regulatory approvals by 2020. CargoSmart plans to start developing and running programs on the GSBN to test its viability.
“Once it is established, the GSBN will work, with its joint venture structure and strong carrier and terminal participation, to increase efficiency in cross-network operation for the benefit of the various stakeholders in our industry,” said Martin Gnass, managing director for information technology at Hapag-Lloyd.
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