Adani Ports join TradeLens platform of Maersk-IBM in a big push to digitizing supply chain

Article written by P Manoj | Mumbai

In a big digitisation push, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), India’s biggest private port operator, has signed up with TradeLens, a blockchain-based digital container logistics platform, jointly developed by A P Moller – Maersk and IBM.
The cargo handling facilities run by APSEZ at Mundra, Hazira, Dahej, Tuna, Dhamra, Ennore, Kattupalli, Mormugao, Vizag and the under-construction port at Vizhinjam will be integrated with TradeLens.
The move comes as ports and logistics companies pursue digitisation in the aftermath of the pandemic that exposed the vulnerability of the supply chain in an industry traditionally dependant on huge paperwork and human interface for clearing goods.

“During the pandemic, we realised the price of not digitising the industry,” said a logistics industry official. “There will be a mindset change now and more firms will adopt technology,” he added.

The TradeLens partnership will enable greater ease of doing business across the supply chain by replacing manual, time consuming administrative process with digital procedures powered by blockchain technology.
TradeLens is an open and neutral industry platform underpinned by blockchain technology, supported by major players across the global shipping industry. The platform promotes the efficient, transparent and secure exchange of information in order to foster greater collaboration and trust across the global supply chain.
TradeLens brings together data from the entire global supply chain ecosystem including shippers, port operators and shipping lines. It also aims to modernise manual and paper-based documents, replacing them with blockchain enabled digital solutions.
The platform provides visibility across the entire supply chain, from booking to clearance to payments and is built on inputs from the industry including direct integrations with more than 110 ports and terminals, over 15 Customs authorities around the world and an increasing number of intermodal providers.
A P M Terminals, PSA International, MaerskLine, MSC, CMA-CGM are among those who have signed up for the platform.
Improved document flows and supply chain visibility offered by digital solutions such as TradeLens potentially could save importers using Jawaharlal Nehru Port up to $220 million a year and exporters up to $40 million in lower transport and logistics costs, notably from shorter lead time and less frequent delays, according to a study by QBIS Consulting on Total Transport and Logistics Costs (TTLC).
Assuming similar potentials in other Indian ports, the savings nationwide could reach $860 million.
TradeLens could help supply chain partners reduce average times through improved efficiency and timeliness in the creation and distribution of shared documents like commercial invoices, bills of lading and packing lists that routinely get generated and exchanged between trading partners.
Additionally, TradeLens could provide the transparency that lets importers identify opportunities to streamline their supply chain. Getting the documentation time for finished consumer goods and machinery down to the overall average of 35 hours could reduce import TTLC by up to 2 per cent.
Using TradeLens, Customs authorities would have immediate access to secure and authentic documents and full, trusted visibility of shipping milestones from end-to-end. That could speed assessments for everyone — especially those trading general merchandise. In addition, Customs could access documents up to three weeks prior to arrival, as opposed to 2-3 days, which is the average for today. If these improvements could bring assessments for general merchandise down to the 15-hour average, a reduction of up to up 4 percent in import TTLC could be achieved, QBIS said.
The only other Indian cargo operator to join TradeLens is the Visakha Container Terminal run by the J M Baxi Group at Visakhapatnam Port Trust.
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