Global terminal operator International Container Terminal Services has signed on to link its 31 terminals to the TradeLens blockchain network, a platform jointly developed by IBM and Maersk.

The blockchain platform enables the ICTSI terminals to gain access to precise information on cargo movements much in advance of vessel arrivals.

The monitoring of containers through the networked exchange of data enables efficient asset planning.

Leveraging the data platform, ICTSI will manage a single global TradeLens connection that will enable service improvement in partnership with TradeLens.

ICTSI vice-president and chief information officer Brian Hibbert said: “We are now testing the system and transferring information about loading and discharge of cargo, berthing of vessels to the blockchain platform. After complete integration of the system, we will be able to optimise work with regulatory authorities, improve our terminals’ visibility to what is coming to them, as well as receive updates from the sea carriers online.”

TradeLens Network Development director Thomas Sproat said: “The broadening geographic scope of the platform is bolstered by the addition of ICTSI and provides new opportunities for TradeLens participants as the ecosystem continues to expand rapidly. We are excited to welcome ICTSI and eagerly await the creation of new ways of working for shippers and consignees that indirectly utilise their services.”

TradeLens sends associated trade documents to permissioned parties and enables carriers and cargo owners to exchange transactional information in real time.

The processing time of traditional paper documents is reduced with the help of blockchain technology.

For terminals, it is especially important, when considering the hazardous cargo and potential efficiency gains in the terminal release and customs release procedures.

Introduced in 2018, TradeLens ecosystem now includes more than 175 establishments, extending to more than ten ocean carriers and covering data from more than 600 terminals and ports.

As of now, it has tracked approximately 13 million of published documents, 30 million container shipments, and 1.5 billion events.