Digital Innovation

Maersk says goodbye to Tradelens

by Port News Editorial Staff

Maersk says goodbye to TradeLens. The blockchain-enabled digital shipping platform, which was co-developed with IBM less than four years ago, has not been as successful as hoped.

Although fully operational and functional, the system had not been profitable enough to justify its use. This is why  the company has announced it will be shut down in the first quarter of 2023. According to Maersk executive Rotem Hershko, it was the lack of collaboration with other operators in the industry that led to the software underperforming.

TradeLens was launched in 2018. The platform was unique in that it allowed participants to connect, share information and collaborate across the supply chain and shipping system. The blockchain established a shared and immutable record of all transactions taking place within a network, allowing authorized users  to access reliable data in real time.

The experiment immediately proved to be very attractive, so much so that it convinced giants such as CMA CGM and MSC to join the platform, while in 2020 it was the terminal operator DP World that completed the integration phases with TradeLens. In 2021, Hapag-Lloyd and ONE had also joined the team.

Problems began when the rival Global Shipping Business Network platform was launched. The GBS includes Cosco Shipping Lines, Cosco Shipping Ports, Shanghai International Port Group and Hutchison Ports. Hapag-Lloyd, OOCL, Qingdao Port Group and PSA International are also members of the network.

The two platforms were not perfectly compatible and shipping lines  began to express strong concerns about the degree of their interoperability.

Translation by Giles Foster

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