TradeLensMajor global container carriers CMA CGM and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have integrated onto TradeLens. The digital platform runs on IBM Cloud/IBM Blockchain and was jointly developed by IBM and A.P. Moller – Maersk. With more major shipping leaders actively sharing information, data on nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo is now available on a single blockchain-based data platform. This should further enable an integrated, timely and consistent view of logistics data for containerised freight around the world.

Digitization is a cornerstone of the CMA CGM Group’s strategy aimed at providing an end-to-end solution tailored to our customers’ needs. An industry-wide collaboration like this is truly unprecedented. Only by working together and agreeing to a shared set of standards and goals are we able to enact the digital transformation that is now touching nearly every part of the global shipping industry,” said Marc Bourdon, CMA CGM Senior Vice President, Commercial Agencies Network.

A Tradelens milestone?

With the addition of CMA CGM and MSC to the participation of Maersk, TradeLens can reasonably claim that it is able to act as a platform foundation with a role which can expand both a (trade) ecosystem and platform operations. On a broader note, the expansion means TradeLens can play a role as a validator of the practical (and useful) blockchain concept.

The addition of two more global shipping leaders marks a crucial milestone for the logistics industry. Until recently this relied on paper-based trade and manual document handling – with substantial costs as well as artificially constrained business continuity. Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM and IBM – together with TradeLens’ expanding network of terminals, customs authorities and 3PL and intermodal providers – are delivering a ‘mechanism’ with the potential to benefit all network participants. They can more quickly and reliably share documents and shipping data. In so doing they digitally collaborate.

The system completes a digital transformation which:

  • has taken more than a year
  • required considerable investment in new API capabilities.

An important milestone was a 15-customer pilot to ensure the TradeLens platform could distribute and share shipment data across various supply chains with speed and accuracy. The pilot involved:

  • more than 3,000 unique consignments
  • 100,000 events
  • 6,000 containers.

TradeLens usage

The TradeLens platform is an open and neutral industry platform. Underpinned by blockchain technology, it supports major players across the global shipping industry to promote (it hopes) an efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information. The objective is to foster collaboration and trust across global supply chains. In this context, TradeLens members need the platform to:

  • connect within an ecosystem
  • share all information needed for shipments to happen
  • observe confidentiality (based on permissions, without sharing sensitive data).

In effect TradeLens seeks to make it possible to access data in near real-time. This alone has the potential to boost information quality. It provides a view of data as cargoes move around the globe.

Launched in 2018, the TradeLens ecosystem now claims to have:

  • included more than 175 organisations
  • extended to more than 10 ocean carriers
  • encompassed data from more than 600 ports and terminals
  • tracked some 30M+ container shipments involving 1.5 billion events and come 13M documents
  • established a time-critical, secured record of transactions.

TradeLens is an important initiative in the digitalization of global shipping and logistics, with the potential to help carriers and their customers to increase transparency and reduce errors and delays, all at a crucial time when the industry is re-thinking and improving the resiliency of supply chains,” said Andre Simha, Global Chief Digital & Information Officer, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company. “By completing the integration, we can now begin showing our customers and business partners how they can create and see value from the platform, and we hope that many of them will join it, creating an even larger and more beneficial ecosystem.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

For enterprise end customers (buyers and vendors/suppliers) having CMA CGM and MSC in production on TradeLens will eliminate data gaps – which had existed between multiple carriers. Additionally, other participants – such as ports, terminals, authorities and intermodal providers – will benefit from being able to access permissioned data sharing. In turn this enables a more comprehensive view of freight moving around the world than was possible before. To offer one example beyond shipping companies, terminal operators that use TradeLens for yard planning will be able to access far more detailed data far earlier for processing multi-carrier vessels.

One other point to make. Now that they are live on TradeLens, MSC and CMA CGM will promote its capabilities and membership to their own clients and business partners across all major geographies. This means TradeLens continues to scale up. As it scales it attracts new ports and terminals. Recent  joiners include:

  • the Commercial Port of Vladivostock
  • DP World
  • PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Lines (SPIL)
  • Portbase
  • QTerminals and Hamad Port
  • SSA Marine’s Manzanillo International Terminal – Panama (MIT-Panama)
  • Shipwaves
  • South Asia Gateway Terminals
  • Yilport Holding.


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