Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a new blockchain shipping network backed by container ship giants COSCO and Hapag-Lloyd, has been incorporated as a non-profit in Hong Kong after securing regulatory approvals across multiple jurisdictions
GSBN chief executive Bertrand Chen said the company’s aim is to “increase the speed of logistics and the ease of conducting trade globally, benefiting all parties involved. We are here to simplify trade for all.”
Last year, GSBN announced its intention to become incorporated following regulatory approval. The subsequent impact of the Covid-19 pandemic saw an industrywide uptake of digitalised products from remote SIRE inspections to fleet management systems.
Hapag-Lloyd managing director IT, Martin Gnass, said, “The foundation of GSBN symbolises an important milestone towards establishing an industrywide, secure, digital collaboration platform that aims to benefit all parties in the global supply chain. 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.”
GSBN’s secure data exchange platform will use blockchain technology, enabling users to exchange first party, real-time, and trusted logistics data. The platform will provide a better user experience, enabling industry players to interact with data and redefine legacy processes. Many industry stakeholders still rely on manual processes or traditional EDIs instead of APIs for critical tasks.
The platform is incorporating enhanced security measures to ensure commercially sensitive information remains protected against unauthorised or inappropriate use. Data governance on the platform will ensure only authorised parties are granted access rights to view and use the data. Data submitted to GSBN’s platform is fully encrypted with private keys, and the data access rights are managed at data-field level.
The company said the move to incorporate GSBN as a non-profit was done with the aim of motivating participants to contribute high-quality data. In the future, GSBN will establish a framework with all stakeholders to share the benefit derived from data products built on top of the platform using their data.
In the preparatory phase of GSBN, the founding members have conducted various proofs of concept in China and southeast Asia to demonstrate the value of products built on top of the platform.
The members will deploy Cargo Release as the group’s first product: a ’no-touch’ process for the traditionally manual cargo release process.
“Such digital products have helped our customers cut down their costs as they incorporate them into their existing processes. As an example, the Cargo Release pilot has enabled hundreds of our customers to eliminate their current manual steps and removed the need for any physical exchange of paper documents. This has not only reduced the overall time from two to three days to one to two hours, but also provided health benefits with regard to Covid-19. With the establishment of GSBN, we are keen to work with all the stakeholders to further develop digital products, fully leverage the blockchain technology and offer more digital services to improve customer experience," said COSCO Shipping Lines deputy managing director and chief operating officer of OOCL, Kenny Ye.
GSBN will open its membership in the coming months with a multiple-tier membership scheme linked to different data volume commitment, participation in early release of new products and other associated privileges.
The blockchain shipping network’s shareholders include COSCO Shipping Lines and COSCO Shipping Ports, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, SPG Qingdao Port, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group. Hong Kong-based IT company IQAX will act as technology provider, taking over from its business affiliate CargoSmart, to manage the GSBN platform from end-to-end.
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