Saudi Arabia said it has completed its first shipment powered by blockchain under Saudi Customs pilot program with TradeLens. TradeLens is a joint program from Maersk (CXE: MAERB) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) to develop blockchain technology for shipping.
The Saudi Customs department announced a shipment left Dammam Port in Saudi Arabia and successfully arrived in Rotterdam on May 13. All the paperwork and data with that shipment was handled by blockchain through TradeLens.
“To establish the Kingdom as one of the world’s premier logistics hub we needed to create a paradigm shift in the way we handle our shipping processes and explore futuristic approaches with our peer-to-peer business ecosystem worldwide,” said H.E Mr. Ahmed Al-Hakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs. “We hope our pilot program will stand the test of time to include other ports as well, and not just the route of exporting but importing also. We chose to embark on this tech journey knowing that change is uncomfortable, but it is inevitable to be a leading global player.”
During the test, the container’s packing list and commercial invoice was uploaded by the customer to the TradeLens platform in a structured format, with their export customs broker using the data in the documents to submit export declaration to Saudi customs. The shipment’s information was then accessed and used by Saudi Customs to register the clearance.
The container was loaded onboard Maersk Sebarok, transshipped in the Port of Tangier and then sent on to Rotterdam, where Dutch Port Community System Portbase provided Dutch Customs release messages and gate-out information directly to the TradeLens platform. Next the container was transported by truck to a location close to Antwerp, Belgium, and its final destination.
The entire process was handled through the TradeLens platform using blockchain.
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News that Saudi Arabia has completed a successful container shipment using blockchain will help build momentum for the technology, which could fundamentally change the process of moving goods globally. Blockchain was all the hype in 2017-2018, but without any clear projects providing success, some have wondered if the technology is over-hyped. Maybe, but real-world successes like this one will help regain the trust in blockchain and hopefully invigorate others to attempt their own projects.
Hammer down everyone!