The Chinese state-owned shipping giant Cosco Shipping has reached an agreement with the e-commerce group Alibaba and its fintech subsidiary Ant Group on cooperation on blockchain applications in shipping.

Under the agreement, the parties will work together to promote blockchain developments in various shipping and logistics sectors to connect data and systems in shipping, ports, logistics and finance with the aim of creating a platform that facilitates integration along the Supply chain facilitated.

According to Ant Group, the partnership aims to tackle the complexity of the shipping process by connecting all parties in the shipping sectors. Its technology, Ant Blockchain, is the largest enterprise blockchain platform in China with the ability to process up to 1 billion transactions per day and support 1 billion users.

In the near future, freight owners are likely to complete the entire shipping process without even realizing the existence of shipping companies

“We look forward to using Ant Group’s blockchain technology to support the digital transformation of the global shipping industry and to work with Cosco Shipping to make global trade easier and more efficient,” said Eric Jing, Executive Chairman of Ant Group.

Alibaba signed a similar agreement with China Merchants in May to develop a digital platform for port operations.

The partnership is expected to be a strong competitor to TradeLens, a blockchain initiative founded by Maersk and IBM in 2018.

“The partnership could be a significant milestone in the development process of digitization in the shipping industry, enabling the seamless connection and transmission of freight, cash flow and information flow, and ultimately promoting the innovation and transformation of the shipping industry,” said Zhang Lingfang, professor at Dalian Maritime University.

“The collaboration shows the shipping world that fundamental technological changes are imminent. In the near future, freight owners are likely to complete the entire shipping process without even realizing the existence of the shipping companies, ”said Zhang Jieshu, deputy secretary general of Shanghai International Shipping Institute (SISI).

Cosco has put efforts in the development of the digitization of shipping and led the creation of the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a non-profit blockchain organization that aims to digitize the operations in the shipping supply chain and help shippers, terminal operators, customs authorities, Shippers and logistics service providers.

Regarding today’s news from Singapore, Ronny Waage, founder of the maritime tech consultancy Heron Advisory, told Splash: “I think it’s a positive development that the maritime industry is finally working more with players from outside the industry who are also heavyweights in technology Platz.”