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.