MSC and CMA CGM sign up to TradeLens

P3, the mooted alliance between the world’s top three carriers, which regulators scuppered in 2014, has been revived digitally with news yesterday that CMA CGM and MSC have signed up to TradeLens, the blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, launched by Maersk and IBM nearly three years ago.

With CMA CGM, MSC, Maersk, and early sign-up Pacific International Lines (PIL), committed to the platform, data for nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo will be available on TradeLens.

The blockchain breakthrough follows hot on the heels of Maersk joining CMA CGM and MSC in investing in Marseille-based smart container developer Traxens and the three liner giants being founding members of the new Digital Container Shipping Association, which launched last month in Amsterdam with an aim to promote digital standardisation in the box shipping sector.

“Digitisation is a cornerstone of the CMA CGM Group’s strategy to provide an end-to-end offer tailored to our customers’ needs. We believe that TradeLens, with its commitment to open standards and open governance, is a key platform to help usher in this digital transformation,” Rajesh Krishnamurthy, executive vice president, IT and transformations at CMA CGM, said yesterday.

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

TradeLens enables participants to connect, share information and collaborate across the shipping supply chain ecosystem. Members gain a comprehensive view of their data and can digitally collaborate as cargo moves around the world, helping create a transparent, secured, immutable record of transactions.

With more than 100 participants on the platform today, TradeLens is already processing over 10m discrete shipping events and thousands of documents each week, providing shippers, carriers, freight forwarders, customs officials, port authorities, inland transportation providers, and others a common view of transactions, which can build trust.

Among shippers who have used and approved of TradeLens, Procter and Gamble (P&G) were full of praise for the platform yesterday.

“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. 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. We look forward to industry-wide adoption to benefit all network members,” commented Michelle Eggers, director global logistics purchases at P&G.

Commenting on the TradeLens news via LinkedIn, Lars Jensen, the CEO of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting, noted: “All in all this shows a pattern where three carriers, who control 44% of the global capacity, have decided that the time for small-scale digital experimentation is over and it is now time to take the next step and ramp up towards global solutions.”


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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