Hapag-Lloyd, ONE join peers in shipping blockchain platform

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - German container group Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) are to join peers in a blockchain platform aimed at limiting the industry’s costly paper trail.

The two companies will join market leaders Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) and French-based CMA CGM on the platform, meaning that more than half of all cargo shipped by sea will be tracked using it.

The participation of key players in the platform, launched last year in a collaboration between Maersk and IBM, is seen as crucial for cutting costs in an industry that has seen little innovation since the container was invented in the 1950s.

The platform, named TradeLens, helps customers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port authorities and customs authorities by digitizing the supply chain process.

Blockchain technology powers the digital currency bitcoin and enables data sharing across a network of individual computers.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Mark Potter