TradeLens is a digital alliance among container shipping lines started by the teaming up of Maersk and IBM to offer customers digital freight solutions..
Touted as an open and neutral industry platform underpinned by Blockchain technology, Tradelens is supported by major industry players such as Maersk, Zim Lines, PIL, CMA CGM, MSC, Hapag Lloyd and ONE..
On the 23rd of December 2019 The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) published “The TradeLens Agreement” which “authorizes the parties to cooperate with respect to the provision of data to a blockchain-enabled, global trade digitized solution that will enable shippers, authorities and other stakeholders to exchange information on supply chain events and documents.”
CMA CGM, Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, MSC and ONE were Parties to the Agreement and IBM and Maersk GTD Inc were Platform Providers..
The FMC allowed interested parties 45 days from the 23rd of Dec 2019 to review the agreement and challenge if any potential competitive impacts would be created in the market due to this agreement..
It was reported that the Agreement would become effective from the 6th of February 2020 unless it is blocked by the FMC due to any objections or otherwise..
As there has been no challenge or objections placed before the FMC it has been reported that the Tradelens Agreement has received the anti-trust nod and deemed to be in force..
FMC is expected to monitor the compliance of the parties to the agreement to ensure that none of the provisions of the Shipping Act in terms of competition activities is violated..
This unchallenged filing of the TradeLens Agreement is seen as having the potential to have a positive impact in the industry in terms of exchange of information, documents and to track the progress of cargo more efficiently along its route in the supply chain..
This agreement also marks an important milestone in the entrenchment of blockchain and digital technology in global shipping heralding the age of digital cooperation between carriers, platform providers and customers to work toward achieving real economies of scale all within the ambit of US Laws..
The US Shipping Act is considered to be a regulatory regime different from the usual antitrust laws which applies to those conducting business in the shipping industry including carriers..
The consortium is hopeful that carriers will start using digital standards and align their businesses to these standards when implementing digitalisation and standardization initiatives in the industry in the future..