Border agencies have seen the potential benefits that blockchain can afford them. As the technology progresses, and government entities warm their reception towards its integration in their systems, we are seeing an increasing amount of pilot programs. The most recent of which is being hosted by the Canadian Border Services Agency.
The software to be piloted is known as TradeLens. This software was developed through a partnership between IBM and shipping giant Maersk. The goal of TradeLens is to unify a disjointed industry. In a process that requires an efficient flow of accurate information, the situation is anything but. TradeLens is a platform that is meant to eliminate information silos. By leveraging the inherent attributes of blockchain, the platform is able to provide an efficient, trustworthy, and transparent transfer of information between shipping parties.
With the global shipping industry representing over $16 trillion worth of transported goods yearly, even a small increase in efficiency can result in massive savings. Recognizing the potential of TradeLens to do so, the Canadian Border Services Agency has announced a partnership with the platform.
With the TradeLens platform proving to have resulted in up to a 40% decrease in shipping costs during other pilot programs, the opportunity to utilize it was too good to pass up. Speaking on the program was the president of the CBSA, John Ossowski. He stated, “This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner…TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada’s economic output.”
Partners to the South
While Canada may be more receptive to blockchain overall, the United States have actually been testing blockchain’s ability to assist with border services for some time. Multiple pilots have been in place such as the following
- Department of Homeland Security
- Utilizes Factom to verify authenticity, share, and store information garnered from border cameras, sensors etc.
- Customs and Border Patrol
- Utilizing a combination of their legacy system, and a new blockchain platform from an unnamed company, in an effort to track shipments.
The implementation of blockchain does not stop here, however. Future plans for these agencies contain the ability to verify the authenticity of shipped products, alongside a shipments point of origin.
A Warm Reception
To date, Canada remains one of the most receptive and forward thinking countries globally with regards to blockchain acceptance. Canada has produced some of the greatest minds in crypto, while the Canadian government has both utilized and facilitated the technology’s growth. Whether it be a Bitcoin ETF, or utilizing Ethereum to disclose public funding on a transparent ledger, Canada looks posed to remain at the forefront of this emerging industry.