Blockchain Technology Could Transform The Shipping Industry

Globalization has upset the ecosystem of commercial networks, particularly on maritime transport, with the robotization of ports, the creation of larger and faster vessels. But almost all the industries operating in this sector still depend on paper documents, especially at the administrative level.

IBM and carrier A.P. Møller-Mærsk have sought to push their collaboration one step further. Indeed, the Danish giant of the shipowners and the American giant of the IT intend to integrate a Blockchain solution in their domain of activity with a view to the optimization and the fluidification of the regulatory exchanges. An initiative that would certainly significantly reduce administrative costs in the sector.

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The administrative increases the cost of transporting a container

According to Vincent Clerc, Director General of Mærsk, a refrigerated package that is sent from East Africa to Europe by sea can involve more than 200 communications and go through at least 30 different organizations. Conditions that tend to dramatically increase the cost of transportation. 

Indeed, bureaucracy and documentation in some cases represent more than a fifth of the total cost of transporting a container due to the use of paper media for trade.

Blockchain technology is usually based on a digital registry. This makes it possible to dematerialize regulatory documents and streamline the chain. A solution that could save the industry billions of dollars a year and significantly speed up the transit of containers around the world.

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The Blockchain, a solution perfectly adapted to several sectors

Blockchain technology uses a distributed database system. It thus facilitates the access of different stakeholders to the same information. And that with confidence and in a secure way.
Apart from maritime transport, this technology could also revolutionize many areas of activity such as public administration and financial services. In the present case, such a solution undoubtedly makes it possible to speed up the entire transport document flow and to reduce data entry by about 80%.

In addition, this new technology would also simplify checks and data changes throughout the shipping process. Benefits that significantly reduce the risk of customs fines that may be imposed on customers.

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A convergence of interests should be created

According to Frederic Panchaud of Viseo, a Blockchain can only work if its participants are independent entities. He also explained that a person who masters his Blockchain project could easily dominate another more suitable technology.

The project of IBM and A.P. Møller-Mærsk should therefore first convince all potential participants to ensure its success. These actors include, for example, customs authorities from different countries, freight forwarders, shippers and shipping companies.

Moreover, the sales director of Mærsk has already confirmed that the success of this platform depends exclusively on the acceptance of these participants. And apparently the economic factor, more precisely the creation of a convergence of interest, would be one of the key arguments that would make it possible.

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