Pacific International Lines (PIL), PSA International and IBM have agreed to collaborate on a blockchain proof of concept for supply chains.

The memorandum doesn’t outline specifics of the collaboration, but implies that it will see the trio work towards fraud and error reduction and improving efficiencies in the shipping and logistics sectors.

PSA is the privatised port operator of Hong Kong and PIL is a shipping company, while IBM has been involved in many of the trade and supply chain explorations in blockchain thus far.

A source at PSA tells GTR that it’s likely that data flow will be streamlined, while the parties will also look to improve documentation processes around intermodal, port and ocean freight parts of the containerised supply chain.

Blockchain has been seized upon by the trade sector as a means of ironing out inefficiencies and also as a way of tackling fraud. With its root in bitcoin and cryptocurrency, blockchain is proven to preventing duplication of digital documents (a serious issue in trade finance).

In trade finance, most big banks have been operating pilots testing the technology’s mettle in transactions. Large logistics players such as Maersk have also been trailing solutions to improve freight processing.

Meanwhile, Singapore has been a hotbed for much of the innovation thus far, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) throwing its weight behind digitisation, as it seeks to digitise trade flows through the city state.

“A more transparent, secure and robust certification system and document flow will benefit the whole supply chain as well as have enormous potential for application in sectors such as food, pharmaceutical and trade finance. Across the global movement of goods and cargo, many activities continue to operate in silos. Blockchain has the potential to reduce inefficiencies and gaps within the supply chain, promote more cost-efficient transactions and facilitate the continued growth in world trade,” says Tan Chong Meng, CEO of PSA.

Managing director of PIL, Teo Siong Seng, adds: “The MoU seeks to develop solutions that translate into fraud and error reduction, as well as cost savings. PIL is pleased to contribute towards our common objectives with intermodal and shipping business know-how and services. We hope that the fruits of collaboration may in the long-term enhance our support to Chongqing Connectivity Initiative [one of three government-led projects between Singapore and China] projects, the southern corridor connecting Western China to Southeast Asia via Guangxi, as well as Southeast Asian trade corridors.”