Blockchain technology has had a rocky start in the logistics industry, with Danish logistics firm Maersk terminating its blockchain-based supply chain platform last year. However, Hong Kong-based Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has not given up on blockchain applications in global trade. In fact, the nonprofit consortium sees blockchain as a crucial logistics tool in the long term.
GSBN currently operates one of the world’s largest platforms that can be described as an alternative to Maersk’s TradeLens tool, according to a report by the South China Morning Post. The platform is based on a permissioned blockchain with strong data governance, allowing only authorized parties to contribute and consume shipping-related data.
Since launching its blockchain-based shipping platform in 2021, GSBN has tapped major shipping partners like Cosco, Orient Overseas Container Line, and Hapag-Lloyd. In addition, the organization has also reached partnerships with terminal operators such as Hutchison Ports, SPG Qingdao Port, PSA International, Shanghai International Port Group, and Cosco Shipping Ports. Among the members, only German Hapag-Lloyd and Singaporean PSA International are not based in mainland China or Hong Kong.
Despite past failures of major industry firms like Maersk in implementing similar projects, GSBN CEO Bertrand Chen is confident that blockchain technology has yet to fully catch on and its adoption may take another decade. However, with the world’s largest shipping companies on board, the potential of blockchain in logistics seems promising.
The use of blockchain technology in the logistics industry has been a topic of discussion for several years. It is seen as a tool that can increase transparency and efficiency, as well as reduce fraud and errors. However, the adoption of blockchain has been slow due to concerns about security, scalability, and interoperability.
GSBN’s permissioned blockchain platform addresses some of these concerns. With strong data governance, it allows only authorized parties to access data, reducing the risk of data breaches. In addition, by bringing together major shipping partners and terminal operators, the platform aims to increase efficiency and reduce the time and costs associated with shipping.
While Maersk’s failed blockchain platform may have dampened enthusiasm for blockchain in logistics, GSBN’s platform shows that there is still potential for blockchain in the industry. As the platform gains more traction and more companies adopt blockchain technology, the logistics industry may see a shift towards more transparent and efficient supply chain management.