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More than $4tr in goods are shipped each year, and the maximum cost of the required trade documentation to process and administer many of these goods is estimated to reach one-fifth of the actual physical transportation costs. According to The World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15 percent.
Blockchain technology is ideally suited to large networks of disparate partners, says Maersk and IBM. A distributed ledger technology, blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time. By applying the technology to digitize global trade processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate and establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.
Maersk and IBM will use blockchain technology to power the new platform, as well as employ other cloud-based open source technologies including artificial intelligence, the internet of things and analytics, delivered via IBM Services, in order to help companies move and track goods digitally across international borders. The companies expect manufacturers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators and customs authorities to all benefit from the new technologies — and ultimately consumers will also.
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