© Alexander Yakimov blockchain)
© Alexander Yakimov

Singapore-based CrimsonLogic has beefed-up its multi-country customs platform with the plug-and-play blockchain solution Open Trade Blockchain (OTB).

OTB is a permissioned blockchain service designed to boost global trade transparency by enhancing the security of trade documents shared between shippers and forwarders.

Last year the eGovernment specialist launched Global eTrade Services (GeTS), a trade compliance portal for managing and submitting customs declarations across multiple jurisdictions on a single cloud-based platform.

GeTS chief executive Chong Kok Keong told The Loadstar OTB would add to GeTS services by providing “added value-propositions of immutability and authenticity.”

He added: “These [GeTS] services register the generated trade documents automatically onto OTB where businesses can readily verify their authenticity.

“This promotes document sharing among businesses and helps build trust. Data registered on OTB can also be reused as the source to generate other related trade documents, further enhancing the accuracy of these documents.”

CrimsonLogic claims OTB is the region’s first cross-border blockchain platform aligned with China’s Belt & Road Initiative and the Southern Transport Corridor.

“OTB is a permissioned blockchain network run by trusted nodes, hosted by whitelisted accredited trade compliance companies,” it said.

These ‘nodes’ – blockchain-speak for important network members or validators – include strategic partners China-ASEAN Information Harbor, Suzhou Cross-Ecommerce, Commodities Intelligence Centre, Korea Trade Network and PT-EDI Indonesia.

“The geolocation of existing and upcoming nodes provides an extensive blockchain network across Asia. With OTB linking China to rest of the region, it will provide a strategic edge to businesses wanting to participate in China’s BRI initiatives as it offers greater connectivity with country’s ‘Digital Silk Road’,” CrimsonLogic said.

So far GeTS has completed 13.5 million transactions for 175,000 parties across 24 customs areas worldwide. North America represents the bulk of transactions and users, but Mr Chong noted the platform was seeing tremendous growth in Asia, especially in ASEAN.

OTB went live five weeks ago, with more than 4,400 users and 150,000 documents registered to date. According to Mr Chong, its main benefit for freight forwarders is the trusted trade-document exchange.

“We will soon roll out a new feature, Document Pouch, which allows related trade documents to be bundled together and logically linked with the latest updates. Asset management capabilities will also be developed to enable asset creation and transfer to support eBL [electronic bill of lading] use-cases.

“In addition, we will be on-boarding partner nodes from the wider trade communities from more countries to have more diverse representation of trusted nodes on OTB,” he said.

While there are many emerging blockchain services aimed at logistics, Mr Chong said there was currently no “clear winner who can create the tipping point for mass adoption”.

He added: “Most of these pilots revolve around specific use-cases with selected participants. OTB focuses on creating a network effect with an open architecture and easy-to-use layer – hence, it is easy for companies to plug in and start using the blockchain capabilities.

“It also provides fundamental building blocks for companies to develop and co-create new services and access to a critical mass of prospective participants to facilitate pervasive adoption.

“It can complement with other blockchain platforms, and in fact we are already working with our partners who are on other blockchain platforms to explore cross-chain applications,” said Mr Chong.

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