A.P. Møller - Mærsk has announced a joint venture with technology giant IBM, with the intention of using blockchain technology to deliver a more efficient and secure method of trading.
With IBM technology, the Netherlands-based shipping firm is set to offer a digitised trading platform, aimed at speeding up the movement of goods, bringing transparency to the global supply chain and removing time-consuming paperwork and bureaucracy.
Vincent Clerc, chief commercial officer at Maersk and future chairman of the board of the new joint venture, said combining Maersk's knowledge of container logistics with IBM's blockchain expertise "marks a milestone in our strategic efforts to drive the digitisation of global trade", adding that "all players across the supply chain stand to benefit".
Maersk said IBM Services will utilise not only blockchain technology but also cloud-based open source applications - including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and analytics - to assist companies in the moving and tracking of goods.
Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Solutions and Blockchain, said: "We believe blockchain will now emerge in this market as the leading way companies seize new untapped economic opportunities."
Currently, more than USD4 trillion in goods is shipped each year, and more than 80 percent of consumer goods are carried by the ocean shipping industry.
The World Economic Forum has stated that reducing global supply chain barriers has the potential to increase global trade by close to 15 percent.