IBM and shipping giant Maersk have recruited a sturdy crew for their global trade blockchain platform.
Revealed Wednesday, the companies have already signed up 94 firms for the platform since it was spun off from Maersk in January. They have also finally given it a name: TradeLens.
Leveraging Maersk's leviathan-like scale, TradeLens has attracted a wide variety of entities, ranging from dozens of port operators and customs authorities to logistics companies and even rival ocean-going carriers, such as Pacific International Lines, all of whom have been testing the platform.
The pilot stage now complete, TradeLens is available for participation through an early adopter program and is expected to be fully commercially available by the end of this year.
And to drive home the message that TradeLens is an open and neutral platform, IBM and Maersk have updated their marketing strategy, now describing the project as "joint collaboration" rather than a joint venture.
"At the time of the launch, we wanted to be clear that we were not offering a bespoke Maersk- or IBM-only solution," Michael White, head of global trade digitization at Maersk, told CoinDesk
While Maersk and IBM remain the only two shareholders, and both invested in the technology and jointly own the IP, White emphasized it is completely open to ecosystem participants.
"It was never about a joint venture," he said, although the Maersk press release for the launch described it as such.
But an IBM spokesperson said the original 49/51 percent ownership split will no longer apply under the collaboration model the two are now going to market with, in response to feedback from the industry.
Both IBM and Maersk will sell access to the TradeLens platform. The selling party will contract with the customer and receive all the fees and revenue rather than sharing it with the other partner, the IBM representative added.
This new model allows them...