Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Port of Montreal are partnering for a blockchain trial that aims to streamline freight shipping.
Establishe in 2003, the CBSA is a federal agency that is responsible for border enforcement, immigration enforcement and customs services. It oversees approximately 1,200 service locations across Canada, and 39 in other countries. CBSA employs over 12,000 public servants, and offers around-the-clock service at 119 land border crossings and thirteen international airports.
The Port of Montreal is an international container port that services Toronto and the rest of Central Canada, the US Midwest, and the US Northeast. On the island of Montreal, port territory stretches along 26 kilometers of waterfront from the Victoria Bridge at the upstream end of the port to Pointe-aux-Trembles at the downstream end of the port.
The organizations have partnered to trial TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled digital shipping solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM to promote more efficient and secure global trade. Built on top of the IBM Blockchain technology, TradeLens empowers multiple trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. It allows shipping industry players to interact more efficiently through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents, including Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor data ranging from temperature control to container weight.
According to the CBSA and the Port of Montreal, they are participating in the TradeLens pilot to determine what role the platform could play in their business processes. The ultimate goal is to see if this type of solution can help improve the quality and timeliness of commercial data, increase visibility to cargo movement past the first port of arrival and reduce the number of transactions necessary to make a release decision for shipments.
“This development is an example of the government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner,” said John Ossowski, President of the CBSA. “TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada’s economic output.”
Since launching in August of this year, more than 90 organizations have signed on to use TradeLens, including shippers, ocean carriers, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, and inland transportation and customs authorities. The solution is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.
Ayman Antoun, president of IBM Canada, said that they believe blockchain can play an integral role in digitizing and reinventing shipping for agencies like the CBSA, who are responsible for moving nearly 500,000 commercial transactions safely across Canadian borders daily.
“TradeLens provides a common approach to building a strong, secure and connected digital trade network that benefits all participants equally,” said Antoun. “Our work with Maersk and other enterprises in the shipping ecosystem has shown that blockchain can be used to transform a vital part of how global trade is conducted as members like the CBSA and Port of Montreal begin to interact more efficiently, securely sharing important transactions through real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents.”
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