The Canada Border Services Agency is taking steps to streamline and secure the flow of shipments into the country by piloting TradeLens, a new blockchain-enabled shipping solution developed by IBM Corp. and A.P. Moller-Maersk, the companies said this week.
TradeLens is a digital supply chain platform that uses blockchain technology to promote a more efficient, predictable and secure exchange of information, according to Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and Copenhagen-based Maersk. The CBSA said it is testing the technology to see how it could help improve the agency's operations, which include moving nearly 500,000 commercial transactions safely across Canadian borders daily.
"This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner," John Ossowski, CBSA president, said in a statement announcing the pilot program. "TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada's economic output."
Hosted on IBM Cloud and built on open industry standards, TradeLens allows participants to track critical import and export data in real-time with a secure, non-repudiable audit trail. IBM and Maersk say TradeLens can reduce transit time and costs by promoting better visibility and more efficient communication. The companies say TradeLens has been proven to reduce the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States by as much as 40 percent, for example.
"TradeLens provides a common approach to building a strong, secure and connected digital trade network that benefits all participants equally," Ayman Antoun, president of IBM Canada said in the statement. "Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted as members like the CBSA and Port of Montreal begin to interact more efficiently, securely sharing important transactions through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents."
TradeLens is available through a limited offering today, but is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year, the companies said.