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HANNOVER MESSE 2018, 23 - 27 April
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Platform Economics

The blockchain is turning shipping documents into smart contracts

International goods flows could soon be transparent for all trading partners at any location and any time: a blockchain platform is set to turn global logistics into a comprehensive Supply Chain 4.0.

28 Jan. 2018
Tim Stockschläger
HMI-ID01-050ts_Maersk
The blockchain is turning shipping documents into smart contracts (Chart: Maersk Line)

The worldwide businesses IBM and Maersk are working together towards establishing end-to-end digitization of global trade . An open platform for all companies will speed up international shipping trade and make its organization more reliable. The joint venture is based on figures from the World Economic Forum, according to which more modern supply chains are making world trade grow by 15%. The blockchain would be ideal for this project because it is able to save information locally, negotiate contracts and make goods transport easy to track. The two main features of the solution are therefore real-time information over the entire supply chain and conversion of shipping papers into smart contracts.

Various trading partners, transport and logistics companies have already indicated their interest in the solution, as have terminal operators and customs and government agencies. At the same time, there is still a significant demand for information on IoT in many companies, as an IDC study on behalf of Interxion has shown. Although 38% of IoT pioneers have their eye on integration of the supply chain, overall just a quarter of all companies already have experience with the Internet of Things. The biggest point of criticism is still the issue of security. At the same time, IDC considers “that the basic principles of blockchain will also be applied to IoT projects”. According to the analysts, blockchain services will form part of 20% of all IoT concepts by as early as 2019.

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