International freight company Maersk is partnering with IBM on a Blockchain project which should be running by the end of 2017.

Aiming to cut down on paperwork and improve transparency, the project will use Hyperledger and save the industry “billions” of dollars when adopted at scale, according to a press release.

“The projects we are doing with IBM aim at exploring a disruptive technology such as Blockchain to solve real customer problems and create new innovative business models for the entire industry,” Ibrahim Gokcen, Maersk’s chief digital officer said.

“We expect the solutions we are working on will not only reduce the cost of goods for consumers but also make global trade more accessible to a much larger number of players from both emerging and developed countries.”

Seven years of research

Blockchain use will likely come in the form of smart contracts, eliminating the need for paperwork and making the handover of goods more secure.

While a first for Maersk, the deal is just the latest Blockchain experiment for IBM, having spent several years researching and collaborating on a range of Blockchain-related schemes.

"In terms of international trading, other global giants have also beaten the pair. Last year saw pioneering shipments moved from the US to China using the Blockchain in a joint effort by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Wells Fargo."

The consignment, which involved bales of cotton worth $35,000, also represented the first interbank Blockchain trade in the world.