The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting supply chain actors worldwide to focus their energies on becoming more resilient through better digitization — and in particular through blockchain technology.
One of the world’s leading ports operators, DP World, announced on May 28 that it would be joining TradeLens, the blockchain shipping platform created by IBM and Danish logistics giant Maersk.
TradeLens is a global supply chain solution with a focus on containerized freight and logistics, which was first launched by IBM and Maersk back in April 2018.
The platform’s broadening geographic scope and support for efficient, blockchain-based digital documentation flows appears to be coming into its own during the pandemic.
Global value chains — many of which still rely in part on paper-based processes — have come under increasing strain due to unstable supply and demand, transport frictions and labor shortages.
Better visibility and reduced operational frictions will be key to the global economic recovery, supply chain experts have emphasized.
Mike Bhaskaran, chief operating officer for the Dubai-based operator, told reporters today that “the situation around the coronavirus is a very good catalyst for making sure everyone in the supply chain can communicate with each other digitally.”
TradeLens works by providing standards-based open APIs that enable supply chain data to be securely and transparently tracked and shared using a permissioned blockchain.
By integrating with TradeLens, DP World will, according to Maersk, be able to improve the efficiency of its operations by being able to track container flows across multiple carriers earlier on in the supply chain cycle.
In 2019, DPWorld’s terminals had reportedly handled 71.2 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) from roughly 70,000 vessels worldwide.
Maersk’s announcement revealed that DP World intends to connect its entire global network of 82 marine and inland container terminals, as well as feeder companies and logistics divisions, with the platform.
The WEF sees blockchain playing a key role in global value chains
As previously reported, the World Economic Forum has been highly proactive in advocating for the capacity of blockchain technology to mitigate the impact of pandemic disruptions.
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Nadia Hewett — project lead for blockchain and digital currency at the WEF — discussed the scope and vision of a new blockchain toolkit released by the forum to help supply chain actors make optimal use of the technology and improve their digital resilience.