Maersk and IBM Join Forces to Create Blockchain Trading Platform

A.P. Moeller-Maersk (AMKBY) and IBM (IBM) are joining forces to create a global trade platform using blockchain technology that the companies think will cut the cost of moving goods around the world.

Danish shipping giant Maersk said Tuesday it will form a new joint venture company with IBM as they explore more efficient and secure methods for conducting trade, and will design the platform for use by the entire global shipping industry.

The idea came from the current stack of paperwork needed to process and track the shipping of goods. Maersk said that the maximum cost of the required trade documentation to process and administer many of the goods shipped each year is estimated to reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs.

"The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit," said Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture.

IBM and Maersk began a collaboration in June 2016 to build new blockchain and cloud-based technologies, and since then multiple parties have piloted the platform, including DuPont, Dow Chemical, Tetra Pak, Port Houston, Rotterdam Port Community System Portbase, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Many more corporations, including General Motors and Procter and Gamble, have expressed interest in the platform and are exploring ways to use it to streamline supply chains and customs clearance. Singaporean and Peruvian customs are also both exploring collaborating with the platform to facilitate trade flows and enhance supply chain security.

Solutions from the joint venture are expected to become available within six months of regulatory clearance.

The new company will be headquartered in the New York metropolitan area.

Write to Dominic Chopping at; Twitter: @domchopping @WSJNordics

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 16, 2018 08:15 ET (13:15 GMT)