The platform, launched earlier this year, has only one other partner right now, Pacific International Lines (PIL), one of the largest shipping lines in the world.
While PIL is a big name in the industry, the truth is that it’s not enough. IBM and Maersk need more companies to collaborate on the platform for it to be a success.
The problem is that Maersk needs support from other shipping careers, many of which are its competitors. It’s important for IBM and Maersk to get other large carriers on-board in order to work.
Marvin Erdly, one of the heads of TradeLens, said:
“I won’t mince words here – we do need to get the other carriers on the platform. Without that network, we don’t have a product. That is the reality of the situation.”
What Is The Problem?
How would you feel about providing support to your rivals? Not good. This is precisely the problem here. Maersk’s rivals want an equal footing. Moreover, some have even called the partnership a failure.
CMA CGM, the third largest carrier in terms of fleet size, wrote off the solution, publicly dismissing it. While TradeLens is now promoting it more as a “joint collaboration,” it is undeniable that IBM and Maersk each enjoy full rights to the concept.
Erdly spoke about the concerns of other companies:
“Obviously the fact that Maersk is driving this is both a really good thing and a worrying thing because they are such a big player in the industry. As you can imagine that’s going to be a factor.”
Is It the End for TradeLens?
Consequently, companies do not want to be a part of the venture that gives full rights to Maersk. However, we can’t completely write off the platform, especially since it’s still in the early days and the partnership has support from other departments.
Many beneficial cargo owners, global port and customs authorities, freight forwarding and logistics companies have already joined TradeLens as partners.
Michael J. White, one of Maersk’s TradeLens leaders, said:
“We have had positive engagement with companies across all sectors of our industry thus far, and we’re pleased to note that this constructive dialogue has resulted in more than 100 ecosystem participants actively involved or piloting the solution.”
What About Blockchain in the Shipping Industry?
Many experts wonder why the companies did not use INTTRA, a twenty-year-old platform that’s reliable and neutral.
Some also wonder if blockchain will be used in the shipping industry, especially with its “thin margins and limited IT resources,” said Inna Kuznetsova, INTTRA’s COO and President.
The latest reports suggest that Maersk, who is a member of INTTRA, is in talks with the company regarding a partnership in the future, but it maintains that the two have “a fundamentally different focus and approach.”
What is The Future?
TradeLens has many challenges, especially since it doesn’t enjoy monopoly. Its biggest competition comes from a joint venture between Accenture and APL. However, TradeLends is not giving up.
Erdly declined to comment on the future of the platform concluding:
“We could have spent years and years working on some industry consortium model. Or we could get started and push this thing forward.”