Global Shipping Business Network May Bring Blockchain One Step Closer to Unified Ocean Cargo Reality

How close is the ocean cargo industry getting to finally engage in collaborative blockchain strategies? CargoSmart says the day may soon be arriving.

CargoSmart, a leading global shipment management software provider, recently announced the execution of Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) Services Agreements with maritime industry operators CMA CGM, COSCO SHIPPING LINES, COSCO SHIPPING Ports, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, Port of Qingdao, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group.

Under these agreements, each signatory commits to provide resources to support preparatory work required to establish the GSBN, a not-for-profit joint venture to accelerate the digital transformation of the shipping industry.

That preparatory work includes obtaining all necessary regulatory, competition and antitrust approvals required for the establishment of the GSBN. CargoSmart will provide software s and services to the GSBN once it is formed.

Upon its establishment, the GSBN intends to provide a platform for all shipping supply chain participants to work collaboratively to accelerate technology innovation and develop solutions through trusted and secure data exchange platforms.

According to CargoSmart spokesmen, the signatories believe that the GSBN can unlock underlying value and create new opportunities for all shipping supply chain participants in a more open and transparent way. While the current signatories are shipping lines and terminal operators, it is envisaged that other participants in the shipping industry may wish to join the GSBN or otherwise benefit from the innovative solutions it develops.

Dan Smith, Principal, The Tioga Group,  has noted that terminal automation is going to proceed slowly, although there may be some “splashy” exceptions. He notes in an interview that automation of any type requires capital and confidence in near-term payback…and the current environment doesn’t provide that confidence.

“The hype about blockchain will cool down when people realize that it is only a processing-intensive data management technique, and will not actually make any new information available or make information available any sooner,” he says. “All the technology and technique in the world is useless unless the parties with the information s choose to share it.”

Steve Siu, Chief Executive Officer of CargoSmart, maintains that this is just what the GSBN Services Agreements will achieve:

“It will “build a solid foundation for the digitization of the shipping industry and the development of innovative solutions based on distributed ledger technology.”

Blockchain technology will also be a key issue addressed in the upcoming 2019 USC Marshall Global Supply Chain Excellence Summit next month in Los Angeles.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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