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Global Shipping Business Network launched to drive shipping’s digitalization

Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has been incorporated in Hong Kong after securing necessary regulatory approvals and has officially started its operations to help accelerate the digital transformation of the shipping industry.

As informed, the network has been established on a not-for-profit basis to enable stakeholders involved in global trade to increase delivery reliability, streamline operations, and embrace digital transformation.

Its shareholders are comprised of major global carriers and terminal operators including COSCO Shipping Lines, COSCO Shipping Ports, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, SPG Qingdao Port, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group.

What is more, GSBN revealed it will open its membership in the coming months for more participants.

In February last year, the nine abovementioned players signed a shareholders’ agreement indicating their intention to become shareholders of GSBN. The signing of the agreement symbolized the conclusion of an important step towards the GSBN’s official establishment.

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“I am grateful for the trust our shareholders have put in me to head up this new and exciting business venture. We will build a diverse, multi-cultural, and innovative team to collaborate with stakeholders across regions and industries, from logistics service providers to financial institutions. We aim to increase the speed of logistics and the ease of conducting trade globally, ultimately benefitting all parties involved. We are here to simplify trade for all,” Bertrand Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Global Shipping Business Network, said.

GSBN’s vision is to enable and accelerate the digital transformation of the shipping industry, through the setup of a secure data exchange platform, which will enable the shipping industry to improve its resilience by:

  • Facilitating better digital connection and collaboration between stakeholders
  • Improving the visibility to enhance sustainability and reliability of operations
  • Creating a data utility platform to unlock the value of digital transformation for all

“The foundation of GSBN symbolizes an important milestone towards establishing an industry-wide, secure, digital collaboration platform that aims to benefit all parties in the global supply chain. GSBN will accelerate the sharing of verified logistics and cargo data, streamline business operations across the whole supply chain, and create value to each stakeholder,” Martin Gnass, Managing Director IT of Hapag-Lloyd, commented.

Data exchange platform

Leveraging Blockchain technology, GSBN will provide a platform, which enables its users to exchange first party, real-time, and trusted logistics data. The platform is expected to provide a better user experience, enabling industry players to interact with data and redefine legacy processes. For example, many industry stakeholders still rely on manual processes or traditional EDIs instead of APIs for some of their most critical tasks.

Additionally, the platform has strong data governance, to ensure that only authorised parties are granted access rights to view and use the data. Data submitted to GSBN’s platform are fully encrypted with private keys, and the data access rights are managed at the data field level. Enhanced data security measures will also ensure commercially sensitive information is protected against unauthorised or inappropriate disclosure or use.

“The ability to collaborate in a trusted and secure manner is key for us to fully realise the opportunities from our increasingly digital and interdependent world. The GSBN platform will allow stakeholders and industry players to share timely information to facilitate downstream transactions and activities, with the assurance that their data is protected by strong data governance structures,” Ho Ghim Siew, Head of Group Commercial, Strategy and Cargo Solutions, PSA International, said.

Product roadmap and network to network connection

During the preparatory phase of GSBN, the founding members have conducted various proofs of concept in China and Southeast Asia to demonstrate the value of products built on top of the platform. As a result, GSBN intends to pursue the deployment of “Cargo Release” as its first product.

During an initial pilot, this product was very well received by a wide range of customers, within the context of the pandemic, as it allowed a “no touch” process for a traditionally very manual and time consuming cargo release process, according to GSBN.

Another successful proof of concept relates to using shipping data to empower trade finance. As global trade does not rely only on logistics but also on trade financing, GSBN intends to establish network to network connection with trade finance to provide a better user experience for the ultimate customer.

IQAX powers GSBN’s blockchain platform

To support GSBN’s vision, IQAX will be the technology provider, taking over from its business affiliate CargoSmart, to manage the GSBN platform from end to end.

Specifically, IQAX will enable GSBN and its future members to develop standards and functionalities to connect stakeholders in the global shipping and trading ecosystem while ensuring data integrity, security and service excellence are maintained.

“We are pleased to have IQAX as the platform provider for GSBN. We share the same vision of enabling and accelerating the digital transformation of the shipping industry,” Chen noted.

“We aim to increase the speed of logistics and the ease of conducting trade globally, ultimately benefitting all parties involved. We are here to simplify trade for all.”