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IBM, Maersk Shutting Blockchain Joint Venture TradeLens

Dev Kundaliya

The platform failed to meet the financial expectations as an independent business.

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Maersk and IBM have decided to discontinue their blockchain-enabled trading platform, TradeLens, by early 2023, after the solution failed to achieve commercial viability, according to an announcement made by the two companies Tuesday.

“TradeLens was founded on the bold vision to make a leap in global supply chain digitization as an open and neutral industry platform. Unfortunately, while we successfully developed a viable platform, the need for full global industry collaboration has not been achieved,” said Rotem Hershko, head of business platforms at Maersk.

“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.”

TradeLens was launched in 2018 with the aim of digitizing and streamlining global supply chains.

IBM and the GTD Solution division of Maersk worked together to build the system as a blockchain-enabled shipping platform with the goal of facilitating global trade in a manner that is more efficient and secure.

TradeLens was designed to solve issues such as inconsistent data sharing across supply chains, as well as concerns such as the amount of time-consuming manual operations that raise costs and delay shipments.

TradeLens sought to digitize documents, such as bills of lading, that could speed up transactions and, as a result, grown international trade.

The platform was available to shipping and freight operators, and its users could verify the transaction of goods as it appeared on a transparent digital ledger.

TradeLens spent years working with international institutions to establish data standards, submitting for clearance with regulators, and trying to sign up as many shippers, carriers, ports and customs authorities as possible in an effort to achieve success.

But in the end, it was never able to live up to its ambitious objectives, and failed to gain traction with a significant mass of its target industry.

In the wake of the decision to shut down TradeLens, Maersk said steps will be taken to prevent any business interruption for clients throughout the TradeLens closure process.

Additionally, it said it would continue its efforts to digitize the supply chain, boost industry innovation, and encourage greater international trade.

“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 digitalization of the industry through the TradeLens platform,” Hershko said.

“We will leverage the work of TradeLens as a steppingstone to further push our digitization agenda and look forward to harnessing the energy and ability of our technology talent in new ways,” he added.

This article originally appeared on CRN’s sister site, Computing.

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