Image: CMA CGM LOUIS BLERIOT (2018), by kees torn, via Flickr

Global container carriers CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have announced on Tuesday that they will be joining TradeLens, a digital shipping platform that uses blockchain to record all shipping data, enabling a more efficient and secure exchange of information and providing greater transparency across the supply chain.

In addition to being able to contribute and view data on the platform, CMA CGM and MSC will operate a blockchain node, participate in consensus to validate transactions, host data, and assume the role of validators for the network. The two companies will also be on the TradeLens Advisory Board which will advise on standards for neutrality and openness.

Through an agreement, they have committed to bringing TradeLens directly to their own customers and partners and build new complementary services on top of the platform.

“Digital collaboration is a key to the evolution of the container shipping industry,” said André Simha, chief digital and information officer at MSC. “The TradeLens platform has enormous potential to spur the industry to digitize the supply chain and build collaboration around common standards.”

Launched last year by Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk and IBM, TradeLens is a digital platform that provides businesses and authorities along the supply chain, including shippers, freight forwarders, inland transportation, ports and terminals, ocean carriers, and customs, with a single, secure source of shipping information.

Participants in the network can track, store and share supply chain data, including shipping milestones, cargo details, trade documents, the structured data embedded in trade documents, customs filings, Internet-of-Things (IoT) data from sensor readings, and more.

The ecosystem includes an application and services layer which provides an open marketplace that allows both TradeLens and third-parties to publish services atop of the platform.

With CMA CGM and MSC joining in, TradeLens says data for nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo, which accounts for 90% of goods in global trade, will be available on the platform. TradeLens claims more than 100 members of the shipping supply have signed on to join the blockchain-based platform since its inception, and says that over ten million discrete shipping events and thousands of documents are being processed through the network each week.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of the world’s top importers of raw materials, is amongst the cargo owners on the TradeLens network.

“P&G ships a significant volume of ocean containers every year. Whether filled with our products or the materials used in production, understanding the status of our containers helps us manage an efficient supply chain,” said Michelle Eggers, director global logistics purchases at P&G.

“We are convinced that the industry will benefit from the transparency and accuracy of blockchain solutions and we are pleased to see MSC, CMA CGM, and Maersk all on the TradeLens platform. We have been testing TradeLens for the P&G business and see potential as the solution scales.”

Other participants in the networks include customs agencies including the US Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency and the Customs Administration of the Netherlands.