Bimal Kanal, Director of GTD Solution Inc., West Central Asia, recently joined the TradeLens collaboration bringing with him over 30 years’ industry experience. He has already been pivotal in bringing key ecosystem participants of ports, terminals, shippers, and customs authorities to the TradeLens Platform.
Bimal recently sat down with both Port Technology and Indian Transport & Logistics News to discuss the increased activity in digitizing transportation processes in the region, including the recent announcement of Adani Ports joining TradeLens.
Excerpts from these publications showcase the unique value that an open and neutral platform, like TradeLens, can bring when scale and size are key elements to make meaningful changes in global trade.
From Port Technology:
“India has tremendous opportunities to grow its interior markets. Digitizing supply chains and using blockchain represent a significant way to transform the country’s supply chains to improve efficiencies and competitive advantage.
Leveraging data from upstream transportation documents can pave the way for better customs processes, enabling their ability to identify risk profile containers, improved duty collection and increasing the velocity of customs clearance of ‘safe’ cargo.
TradeLens will [soon] be releasing its electronic bill of lading product. The bill of lading is one of the last documents to be digitized at scale worldwide, because of the legal and other peculiarities involved with this document. Having a truly digital, end-to-end [eBL] solution will be another step towards a digitized supply chain.
The inclusion of the TradeLens [eBL] product allows for all documentation needs to be captured within a single platform, both seaway bills and currently straight original bill of ladings are available on the platform. Combining this digital documentation with workflow automation across multiple parties in the supply chain will generate strong efficiencies through an end-to end paperless trade platform.”
As Indian trade continues to expand, blockchain will be the catalyst for more efficient processes in both customs and transportation infrastructure, like crowded ports, trucking capacity and others, as identified in research we did on Indian customs processes (2019 study).
“TradeLens brings together data from the entire global supply chain ecosystem including shippers, ports, terminal operators, ocean carriers, customs, inland container depots, trucking companies and feeder operators. It also aims to modernize manual and paper-based documents, replacing them with blockchain-enabled digital solutions.
Data sharing is at the heart of the TradeLens Platform. As cargo flows from source to destination across the supply chain, TradeLens participants involved in the transport and logistics of that cargo provide data to the platform, such as logistics milestones, movement information, and trade documents. The TradeLens Platform, through a robust authorization and permission model, enables or restricts access to that data by other participants. The model promotes both secure and fast access to supply chain information and ensures that no commercially sensitive information is available to competitors or other unauthorized parties.
Partners on the TradeLens platform include 110 ports and terminals covering more than 15 customs authorities plus at least 26 intermodal providers, 17 inland depots and 15 ocean carriers, which include some of the world’s biggest liners like CMA, Hamburg-Sud, Hapag Lloyd, Maersk Line, MSC. Port operators who have come on board The Platform includes names such as APM Terminals, PSA and DP World, the latest addition to TradeLens. DP World has already connected Cochin Port in India with the TradeLens platform via API technology. Plans to collaborate with other DP World business units, including the feeder line Unifeeder, have also been initiated.
In India, other port operators on board the TradeLens include Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ). 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.
Getting government agencies to plug into TradeLens is the biggest win and certainly an endorsement of The Platform. The customs authoriries of more than ten countries are onboard, including the United Nation’s (UN) Automated System for Customs Data.”
The next step for TradeLens is bringing its electronic bill of lading to the Indian market. Starting in July, the first trials of this product will begin — the first of its kind as a carrier-backed, blockchain-enabled digital title document. TradeLens is working with leading Indian exporters, importers, and their banks to drive for truly paperless trade.