Economy Maritime

Maersk, IBM to Help Digitize Supply Chain for Shipping

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Written by Maritime First
  • As Economic factors pressure N5.2trn risk assets in Banking Sector

Danish shipping giant Maersk and American technology company International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) plan to develop a blockchain solution to help digitize the global supply chain for the shipping industry.

The duo intends to work with a network of shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and customs authorities to build the new solution, which is expected to go into production later this year.

As disclosed, the solution is expected to reduce fraud and errors, reduce the time products spend in the transit and shipping process, improve inventory management and reduce waste and cost.

“We are excited about this cooperation and its potential to bring substantial efficiency and productivity gains to global supply chains, while decreasing fraud and increasing security,” Ibrahim Gokcen, Chief Digital Officer, Maersk, pointed out.

For shippers, the planned solution can help reduce trade documentation and processing costs and help eliminate delays associated with errors in the physical movement of paperwork. It can also provide visibility of the container as it advances through the supply chain, according to IBM.

For customs authorities, the solution is intended to give real-time visibility, improving the information available for risk analysis and targeting, which may eventually lead to increased safety and security as well as greater efficiency in border inspection clearance procedures, IBM explained.

“We believe that this new supply chain solution will be a transformative technology with the potential to completely disrupt and change the way global trade is done,” Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, Industry Platforms, IBM, said.

The solution enables the real-time exchange of original supply chain events and documents through a digital infrastructure that connects participants in a supply chain ecosystem. Developed by Maersk and IBM, the solution is based on the open source Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric.

An industry standard API for the centralized sharing of data and shipping information via the cloud was originally conceived by Frank Heijmann, Head of Trade Relations, Customs Administration of the Netherlands, and David Hesketh, Head of Customs Research and Development, HM Revenue and Customs. In cooperation with the European Commission services, it was further developed under the EU FP7 CORE demonstrator project.

In the meantime, with last week’s announcement of the first full year results in the banking sector, that of Zenith Bank Plc, there is now a heightened concern in the banking industry that more risk assets would go into distress.

Though Zenith Bank’s result for full year 2017 was impressive in both top-line and bottom-line, showing a measure of resilience, the bank recorded heightened provision for bad loans, a development which industry experts say would signpost most results in the industry to be announced starting this week.

Moreover, the analysts believe Zenith Bank’s resilience in turning out impressive top-line and bottom-line would not be replicated by many banks, thus indicating that increased impairment losses would come with erosion of bottom-line.

According to Ayodele Akinwunmi, Head of Research at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, the results of other banks would show marked difference from that of Zenith Bank.

He stated: ‘‘I expect the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) to increase across the industry because of the waek economic situation in the country particularly drop in oil price and oil production, rising inflation rate, weak purchasing power and the devaluation of the Naira. In addition, in a regime of high interest rate just as we saw from June 2016 banks that are net takers of fund in the market will incure huge interest expenses.’’
World Maritime News with additional report from Vanguard

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Maritime First