IBM and Danish shipping giant Maersk are teaming up to form a new company whose aim is to commercialize blockchain technology—the nifty, shared accounting ledgers first made famous by the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The as-yet unnamed, New York-based venture is set to be owned 51% by Maersk and 49% by IBM (ibm, -0.65%), the companies said.
The concern intends to help shippers, ports, customs offices, banks, and other stakeholders in global supply chains track freight as well as replace related paperwork with tamper-resistant digital records. IBM and Maersk first partnered on a blockchain trial in summer 2016.
Michael J. White, the new company’s CEO, said this pilot, which traced a container of flowers that sailed from Mombasa, Kenya to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, plus several followups convinced Maersk of the system’s potential. Since then, the two companies have partnered with Dupont, Dow Chemical, Swiss food processor Tetra Pak, and various ports and customs offices on tests.
Other corporations, such as General Motors (gm, -0.27%) and Procter and Gamble (pg, -0.60%) are exploring ways to use the technology to streamline record-keeping for their supply chains as well. “We see an opportunity to increase efficiency and timeliness for cargo movement,” White tells Fortune.
Previously, White served as the North American president for Maersk Line, Maersk’s container shipping division. “Even small improvements can have a substantial impact on global trade,” says Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM’s blockchain team. Read more from fortune.com…
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