Cosco Shipping Group and Alibaba's fintech affiliate, Ant Group, have teamed up to introduce blockchain technology to its shipping and logistics operations.
Under the deal, the Chinese shipping company will work with Ant Group to jointly explore and promote the use of blockchain technology — including the use of Internet of Things, 5G and other technologies — in shipping, port operations, finance, and logistics, among others.
Ant Group's blockchain technology is expected to “transform logistics" in the maritime industry and capitalize on shipping which supports up to 90% of global trade.
Using blockchain to secure shipping information like container records and logistics certificates is widely seen to “significantly improve transparency while reducing costs.”
“Through Ant Group’s blockchain technology, we look forward to supporting the digital transformation of the global shipping industry via the combination of logistics and technology, and working with Cosco Shipping to make it easier and more efficient to trade globally,” said Jing Xiandong, chairman of Ant Group.
The Chinese state-run Cosco Shipping is the world's third-largest shipping company with1,330 vessels and a combined cargo capacity of around 106 million tons.
Supply chain digitization push
Renewed push to digitize the shipping chain have intensified as the entire supply chain responds to the operational challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from COSCO Shipping, Ant Group and Alibaba also inked strategic cooperation with Chinese port operator, China Merchants Port, to digitize port operations using blockchain technology.
China Merchant Port Group — which operates 41 ports in China and 25 others globally — wants to leverage the combined expertise in ports, technology, and finance to create a new smart port open platform based on blockchain technology that seeks to improve trade facilitation, eliminate information barriers and promote contactless import and export transactions.