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ARMONK, NY: March 06, 2017. Following ratification of the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement, IBM and Maersk are developing the use of blockchain technology to help transform global supply chains.

The goal is to digitize the paper trail associated with a container-based global supply chain by using a blockchain solution built by IBM and Maersk based on the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric. When adopted at scale, the solution has the potential to save the logistics industry billions of dollars, according to the two companies.

IBM and Maersk intend to work with a network of shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and Customs authorities to build the new global trade digitization solution, which is expected to go into production later this year.

APM New JerseyThis follows a proof of concept study with various shippers and government agencies including Schneider Electric, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Damco, Royal FloraHolland and the Port of Rotterdam.

"The projects we are doing with IBM aim at exploring a disruptive technology such as blockchain to solve real customer problems and create new innovative business models for the entire industry," said Maersk Chief Digital Officer Ibrahim Gokcen. "We expect the solutions we are working on will not only reduce the cost of goods for consumers, but also make global trade more accessible to a much larger number of players from both emerging and developed countries."

An industry standard application program interface (API) for the centralized sharing of data via the Cloud was originally conceived by Frank Heijmann, head of trade relations, Customs Administration of the Netherlands, and David Hesketh, head of Customs research and development at Britain's HM Revenue and Customs.

"The Customs Administration of the Netherlands see the data pipeline as a tool supporting the balance between trade facilitation and enforcement, where information sharing in supply chains is optimized from a commercial perspective, and government authorities can re-use that information flow for supervision purposes," said Heijmann.

Bridget van Kralingen, IBM senior vice president Industry Platforms added: "We believe that this new supply chain solution will be a transformative technology with the potential to completely disrupt and change the way global trade is done." 

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