Blockchain-a catalyst for the transformation of the shipping industry

The great discoveries of world geography from the 15th to the 17th centuries greatly expanded the scope of the known world, at the same time, the international trade has also developed rapidly. On this basis, the international shipping industry came into being. After several centuries of development, the face of the international shipping industry has undergone great changes. Especially in the 21st century, port freight handling is becoming more and more highly automated. At the same time, blockchain technology is beginning to be affected by international shipping. Industry’s extensive attention.

Costs and risks of the shipping industry

Traditional shipping logistics involves the processing of many paper documents, including but not limited to ship sale and purchase contracts, ship charter contracts, shipping bills of lading, port clearance documents, letters of credit, and other accompanying documents. In addition to the costs incurred in document processing, the total cost of international shipping also includes various other costs including terminal operating fees.

In addition to the cost, the operational risks of various stages of the international shipping industry, such as customs, trucks, and freighters, at various stages of freight transportation should not be underestimated. Many participants have many intersections in different stages of operation, making information transmission and quality management The difficulty and risks in the bill of lading increase with varying degrees.

The application of new technologies provides innovative solutions for the cost and risk control of the international shipping industry. In May 2017, Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, announced a partnership with IBM to apply blockchain technology to maritime supply chain management, track cargo movements and promote document processing automation.

What blockchain will bring to the shipping industry

Although the blockchain still faces some problems that need to be solved, this technology has been proven in various scenarios to minimize the participation of intermediate links, reduce the cost while ensuring efficient and transparent processes, and at the same time Improve data security.

For the international shipping industry, the impact of blockchain technology will be huge, especially industry managers, leaders, and monopolies under the current industry framework will find overnight and participate in a market Under the scenario where the trusting of each other and the ability to obtain the same information, the original advantages of all kinds will be weakened.

In addition, producers, logistics companies, shipping companies, cargo agents, port and terminal operators, and customs and related departments can all enjoy the convenience of the wide application of blockchain technology, and ordinary consumers can also reduce the cost of related freight And benefit.

In summary, the application of blockchain to the shipping industry will bring about three changes:

First of all, the operation mode of the shipping industry will undergo fundamental changes. On the one hand, the distributed and multi-centralized characteristics of blockchain technology can reduce intermediate institutions, simplify operational processes, improve operational efficiency, and save operating costs; on the other hand, it can reduce the need for a large number of documents through smart contracts. Furthermore, paperless operation not only reduces costs, but also makes the flow of funds between nodes safe and efficient.

Second, the information gap in the shipping industry will be greatly reduced. The application of blockchain technology in the shipping industry will realize the exchange of international trade bills of lading and other electronic documents between the relevant entities of trade transportation, and realize the three-in-one integration of “logistics, information flow, capital flow” in the international supply chain, and omit Part of the logistics link. When a problem occurs during the transportation of the goods, the cargo owner, customs, carrier, and insurance company can trace the reliable electronic evidence to clearly define the responsibilities of each party, thereby improving the processing efficiency of payment, handover, and claims. In addition, various legal documents related to international trade, such as certificates of origin, notarial certificates, guarantees, etc., can also adopt a blockchain solution similar to bill of lading information exchange to achieve safe, reliable, and mutually recognized transmission.

Finally, it has spawned new credit evaluation models and financial innovation. At present, the industry generally believes that blockchain technology is most suitable for complex transaction scenarios involving multiple transaction entities. In the context of the international shipping industry, if the information related to the credit of the transaction subject can be completely stored on the blockchain and can be easily obtained, then the transaction subject can directly conduct peer-to-peer transactions, the role of the credit intermediary Will gradually be marginalized. In addition, shipping resources can be capitalized through the blockchain, and the Crypto form can be used to facilitate transactions and financing. At the same time, tracking and management of these assets will be more convenient.

Blockchain practice in domestic and foreign shipping industry


Typical Cases of International Practice

TradeLens platform developed by Maersk and IBM

In May 2017, Maersk and IBM announced the joint development of a maritime supply chain blockchain platform. In August 2018, the platform was finally launched to partners under the name TradeLens.

TradeLens is an open and neutral industry platform based on blockchain technology, which connects all parties in the international supply chain, including traders, freight forwarders, inland transportation companies, ports and terminals, liner companies, customs With other government agencies and other centralized in a distributed database, and to ensure the security clearance and identity recognition of all parties, has now been supported by major players in the global shipping industry.

As of December 2019, the TradeLens platform has attracted more than 175 institutions to become the world’s largest shipping industry blockchain platform.

GSBN: the first blockchain alliance in the shipping industry

In November 2018, at the first China International Import Expo, Dubai Global Port Group, Hutchison Port Group, PSA International Port Group, Shanghai Port Group, French CMA Group, COSCO Shipping Container Lines, Evergreen Shipping, OOCL, Yangming Shipping and port companies such as ocean shipping signed a letter of intent to reach a cooperation intention to build the first international shipping industry blockchain alliance-the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN).

The Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) aims to establish an industry Crypto benchmark with all stakeholders including shipping carriers, terminal operators, customs agencies and their agents, shippers and logistics service providers to drive the supply chain industry Collaborative innovation and Crypto transformation.


Typical case of domestic practice

Dalian Area, Liaoning Pilot Free Trade Zone

The Dalian area of ​​the Liaoning Pilot Free Trade Zone has expanded the application of blockchain technology in port pickup and delivery to achieve a trust-free, paperless, zero-view logistics business model that guarantees the efficient and safe operation of port logistics. The relevant departments and units of the Dalian Port Joint Port will increase the application practice and expand the application scope of the “blockchain electronic delivery platform” (designed, developed, and put into use by Liaoning Port Group in April 2019), All the original offline operations were changed to online operations to realize the electronic information interaction in the whole process of shipping company’s delivery of goods, receiver’s picking up of containers and dock’s putting of goods in the process of picking up, which greatly improved the efficiency of port operations.

Tianjin Port Blockchain Practice

The Tianjin Port Blockchain Verification Pilot Project was put into trial operation in April 2019. It deeply integrated blockchain technology with various aspects of transactions, finance, logistics, and supervision in cross-border trade, and initially established a blockchain cross-border trade. Ecosystem. The project selected two business scenarios of Tianjin port air transportation and sea transportation for pilot. The service scope covers the supervision departments of Tianjin sea port and air port shore, the majority of import and export enterprises, logistics, certification and financial industries.

In addition, in April 2020, Tianjin Customs and the Beijing-Tianjin Departments of Commerce and Ports jointly launched 18 measures to deepen customs declaration supervision reform, accelerate the realization of port logistics and electronic operations, and promote “Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei customs clearance facilitation” “The application of blockchain scenarios promotes the customs clearance of customs, and the sharing of port logistics data in the three places of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, and continuously optimizes the cross-border trade business environment.

Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Blockchain Project

In March 2020, China Merchants Port Group and Financial One Account held the signing ceremony of the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Logistics and Trade Facilitation Blockchain Platform Project” in Shenzhen. The two parties will use blockchain as the underlying technology to jointly promote the construction of smart ports, help ports and upstream and downstream enterprises reduce costs and increase efficiency, transform and upgrade, and enhance the overall efficiency of the Bay Area’s trade clearance and business environment.

Ye Wangchun, chairman and CEO of China Financial One Account, said that based on blockchain technology, a smart port logistics platform that connects customs, ports, carriers, cargo owners, freight forwarders, financial institutions and other relevant parties can be built. Through the integrated sharing of “information flow, logistics, and capital flow”, the platform can achieve the practical effects of improving efficiency, improving benefits, controlling risks, and controlling costs.

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