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Maersk and IBM pull the plug on Tradelens

Photo: Pixabay - Peter Linforth blockchain image
AP Moller – Maersk and IBM are pulling the plug on the Tradlens digitalisation platform for shipping saying it has failed to achieve full global industry collaboration.

Tradelens was founded by Maersk and IBM in 2018 as a blockchain-enabled shipping solution designed to promote more efficient and secure global trade.

From 29 November Maersk the Tradelens team would be withdrawing offerings. The intention is the platform will go offline by end of Q1 next year.

Maersk blamed a lack of ability to achieve full global collaboration on the decision to discontinue Tradelens.

“Unfortunately, while we successfully developed a viable platform, the need for full global industry collaboration has not been achieved. As a result, TradeLens has not reached the level of commercial viability necessary to continue work and meet the financial expectations as an independent business,” said Rotem Hershko Head of Business Platforms at AP Moller – Maersk.

An industry observer noted the platform had failed to gain broad acceptance in China.

Maersk said it would continue in its efforts to digitalise the supply chain through other solutions.

“We are deeply grateful for the relentless efforts of our committed industry members and many tech talents, who together have worked diligently to advance the digitalisation of the industry through the TradeLens platform. We will leverage the work of TradeLens as a steppingstone to further push our digitisation agenda and look forward to harnessing the energy and ability of our technology talent in new ways,” Hershko added.

Posting on LinkedIn response to the news Andre Simha, Chief Digital & Information Officer of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Chairman of Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), said that there were no doubt many reasons for the decision but, "it's not a sign that digital trade is weakening. The journey to digital trade is tough, and we will likely see other attempts fail as well."

Simha said the vision of Tradelens to bring competitors together to build a world of paperless trade would live on.

Hong Kong-based Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) is often seen as an Asian rival to Tradelens. In a response to media queries GSBN CEO Bertrand Chen said: “At GSBN, we are focused in our mission driving the digital transformation of global trade and are fully committed to supporting stakeholders across the industry throughout this journey. We continue to closely follow the industry's latest developments."


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