Maersk announced it would start phasing out its blockchain-based supply chain solution TradeLens it had created in partnership with IBM.
Maersk and IBM said they would start withdrawing TradeLens offerings and ultimately discontinue the platform, as reported by Rotem Hershko. With the initiation of these processes, Maersk’s Head of Business Platforms stated TradeLens would go offline by Q2 2023.
IBM Solution Goes Offline
The corporations had 1st announced the blockchain-base initiative in 2018, as part of IBM’s overall push into supply chain optimization. Maersk had hoped to advance the digitalization of its global supply chain through an open and neutral industry platform. Thus, GTD Solution, a division of the shipping company, designed the solution with IBM to strengthen and secure Maersk’s logistics.
Through their efforts, the partnership created what became a viable platform that saw broad use around the globe. TradeLens supported major carriers covering greater than 60 percent of global containerized trade, Maersk said.
Nonetheless, its success ultimately depended on full global collaboration across the industry, which never came to fruition. Consequently, TradeLens never achieved “the level of commercial viability necessary to… meet the financial expectations as an independent business.”
Regardless discontinuing this specific project, Maersk stated it would carry on with innovating to reduce global trade friction. Hershko commended the efforts of its “committed industry members and several tech talents,” in the development and utilization of TradeLens. The shipping company stated it would use TradeLens “as a stepping stone” in further developing its digitization efforts.
Maersk was the largest container shipping company in the world from 1996 until 2022, until overtaken by Mediterranean Shipping Company.
Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Solutions
Despite the fact that widely-known for facilitating digital currencies, supply chains are another ideal use case for blockchain tech technology. These logistics networks have traditionally been dependent on either paper records or disparate digital formats, which differ in the middle of suppliers. Collecting and processing this data and documenting it properly has typically been a cumbersome process that is ripe for disruption.
In the meantime, blockchain-based solutions, like TradeLens, provide this information on a single platform, accessible along the length of the supply chain. As a digital solution, documentation becomes readily available, and the blockchain tech ensures entries are secure and immutable. Nonetheless, the longstanding success of any such solution depends on comprehensive integration, which TradeLens demonstrated is difficult to achieve.