GSBN begins operations with maritime blockchain platform

Maritime trade blockchain platform Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has completed its incorporation in Hong Kong after securing regulatory approvals across multiple jurisdictions and has announced the official start of operations.

GSBN has been established on a not-for-profit basis to digitally connect stakeholders involved in global trade. Its shareholders are comprised of global carriers and terminal operators: COSCO Shipping Lines, COSCO Shipping Ports, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, SPG Qingdao Port, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group.

The group will operate a Data Exchange Platform leveraging Blockchain technology to enable users to exchange first party, real-time trusted logistics data, with the aim of providing an alternative to manual processes or traditional EDIs.

“The foundation of GSBN symbolises an important milestone towards establishing an industry-wide, secure, digital collaboration platform that aims to benefit all parties in the global supply chain,” said Martin Gnass, Managing Director IT of Hapag-Lloyd.

“GSBN will accelerate the sharing of verified logistics and cargo data, streamline business operations across the whole supply chain, and create value to each stakeholder.”

Only authorised parties are granted access rights to view and use data submitted to GSBN’s platform, which is encrypted with private keys. Data access rights are managed at the data field level to ensure that commercially sensitive information is protected against unauthorised or inappropriate disclosure or use.

The organisation has been set up on a not-for-profit basis to encourage each member to participate and contribute their data. In the future, GSBN says it will establish a framework with all stakeholders to share the benefit derived from data products built on top of the platform using their data.

“The ability to collaborate in a trusted and secure manner is key for us to fully realise the opportunities from our increasingly digital and interdependent world,” said Ho Ghim Siew, Head of Group Commercial, Strategy and Cargo Solutions, PSA International.

“The GSBN platform will allow stakeholders and industry players to share timely information to facilitate downstream transactions and activities, with the assurance that their data is protected by strong data governance structures.”

Various proofs of concept have been carried out in China and Southeast Asia during GSBN’s preparatory phase to demonstrate the value of products built on the platform. As a result, the group intends to pursue the deployment of ‘Cargo Release’ as its first product, piloted during the pandemic to provide a ‘no touch’ process for the cargo release process.

Another completed proof of concept relates to the use of shipping data to underpin trade finance, with GSBN intending to establish network to network connections with trade finance (banks and other fintechs) to facilitate transactions.

“We are excited to share with our partners our experience with innovative blockchain-based products. Such digital products have helped our customers cut down their costs as they incorporate them into their existing processes,” said Kenny Ye, Deputy Managing Director of COSCO Shipping Lines and COO of OOCL.

“As an example, the Cargo Release pilot has enabled hundreds of our customers to eliminate their current manual steps and remove the need for any physical exchanges of paper documents. This not only reduced the overall time from 2-3 days to 1-2 hours, but also provided health benefits with regard to COVID-19.”

GSBN says it will open to new membership in the coming months, with a multiple tier membership scheme linked to different data volume commitments, participation in early release of new products and other associated privileges.

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About the Author

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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