Global Shipping Consortium Starts Blockchain Cargo App in China
The Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has announced that the first application of its blockchain-enabled Cargo Release has gone live across China. Built on Hyperledger Fabric, the application seeks to improve global trade efficiency by introducing a paperless system that simplifies data exchange and shortens operation time from days to hours.
It will also enhance trusted collaboration among market participants as it seeks to enable and accelerate the sharing of verified logistics and cargo data, streamline business operations across the whole supply chain, and create value to each stakeholder, the consortium states.
The rollout of the application follows the consortium’s incorporation earlier this year in Hong Kong after securing required regulatory approvals across multiple jurisdictions.
The deployment of Cargo Release will help the shipping industry go through a pending revolution where major efficiencies will be unlocked, and significant value will be created, says Bertrand Chen, the CEO at GSBN. He stressed that the app launch in China is significant considering that it is one of the major markets for import and export in the world.
It is not the first time that China would be reported involved in a blockchain-related system for the shipping sector.
Last November, an associate of Ping An Group launched the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Logistics and Trade Facilitation Blockchain Platform Project. The “linked port” launched by OneConnect Financial Technology has the aim to improve cross-border trade efficiency across one of the world’s largest port zones linking China, Hong Kong and Macao. .
The technology’s ecosystem was to be introduced first for the Shekou and Shunde ports with plans to later integrate the Area’s 37 ports as container throughput and cross-border trade increase thus helping the Greater Bay Area grow and remain competitive, the company noted in a public statement.
The Greater Bay Area, as a megalopolis of nine cities and two special administrative regions, is the largest and most populated urban area – with approximately 71.2 million people – and is among the five largest bay areas in the world. Being the largest and the richest economic region in South China with a combined regional GDP of US$1.64 billion in 2018 (or 12% of GDP for the whole of mainland China), the Area is also the 12th biggest economy in the world.
The blockchain-backed port project would build on existing relations in the Area – like Hong Kong being a global leader in financial services and markets with great access to China – to add value to China’s overall digital economy which has reportedly grown to 35.8 trillion yuan in 2019, according to Yang Xiaowei, deputy director of the National Cyberspace Administration. He also said it contributed up to 67.7% of GDP and called for core technologies, including blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence, to be used more widely in building an internet infrastructure to create advanced internet data, products and services.
Hong Kong and China have rolled out their respective blockchain trade finance platforms in recent years to improve transactions and at a cost-effective rate but there are projections of more to come. In the case of Cargo Release, GSBN notes that the app has already been deployed in the real world by industry leaders COSCO SHIPPING Lines, OOCL and SIPG. Hapag-Lloyd is to participate with a pilot in Q3 2021.