Global Container Terminals Inc. (GCT) said it will take part in the TradeLens blockchain platform developed by Maersk and IBM (NYSE: IBM).
GCT, which operates two marine terminals on the U.S. East Coast and two on Canada's west coast, said TradeLens will be rolled out "in phases" at all four of GCT's terminals.
TradeLens uses a blockchain-based distributed ledger to record transactions and events along a supply chain, allowing participants a single shared view of a transaction. TradeLens has said the platform allows shippers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities to interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents.
TradeLens will facilitate "seamless data sharing, collaboration and improved trade flows" with ocean carriers, beneficial cargo owners and railways, GCT said in a statement, adding that 10 of its ocean carrier customers have committed to using the TradeLens platform.
GCT Chief Executive Doron Grosman said the company has looked at some of the other maritime blockchain initiatives that are taking shape. But given the number of major ocean carriers that have already signed on to TradeLens, "it's natural for us to be aligned with our customers. TradeLens is an early stage platform, and we may join other platforms. But this is an important first step."
As for what GCT hopes to get out of TradeLens, Grosman said improved ability to timestamp events such as when a container exits the terminal and gets loaded on a train or truck is one area of focus for marine terminals.
"Containers may sit at a terminal for 36 to 48 hours, so not a long time, but it's an important time for beneficial cargo owners," Grosman said.
Mike White, the head of TradeLens, said, "Integrating data with ports, terminals, logistics providers, shippers, and carriers is essential for the vision of TradeLens to realize new ways of working within a collaborative industry ecosystem."
He added, "GCT's connection to TradeLens strengthens this new era of transparency and collaboration for the global supply chain."
Maersk subsidiary APM Terminals is also integrated with TradeLens. PSA International's Singapore terminal and Chinese operator Modern Terminals are also participants in the TradeLens platform.
TradeLens also encompasses more than half of the world's container ship capacity thanks to the addition this year of CMA CGM, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Hapag-Lloyd and ONE to the platform.
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