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Blockchain to Streamline Operations at the World’s Busiest Port

The Asia-Pacific Model Electronic Port Network (APMEN) plans to deploy new digital supply chain technology backed by artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

With 16 ports and e-ports on board as members, including Malaysia’s Port of Klang and Port of Manzanillo and Port of Lazaro Cardenas in Mexico, APMEN was formed in 2014 to serve as the online port clearance system for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries and improve the digital links between their busy cargo hubs. APMEN’s goal is to act as the single point for information exchange among members and to help the region’s myriad supply chains sync up.

Digital asset provider Ideanomics, which recently rebranded from a previous incarnation as Seven Stars Cloud Group, partnered with the APMEN Trade Tech Co Ltd. to create a joint venture serving up AI- and blockchain-based supply chain tech to APMEN.

“The full implementation of connecting e-ports across the region using the Ideanomics supply chain finance blockchain will save more than just trading costs and time,” Dr. Liu Yadong, APMEN chairman, said. “By leveraging the expertise of Ideanomics for their best-in-class intelligent supply chain services and super artificial intelligence technology, we are advancing trade facilitation and our supply chain connectivity.”

Ideanomics said the Port of Shanghai and Guangdong, which includes seven different ports, will be the first to deploy the new blockchain-based tech. Last year Shanghai set a world record by processing 40 million TEU or twenty-foot container equivalent units, establishing its status as the busiest port on the planet.

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The joint venture aims to streamline operations at target ports and e-ports by removing the middle man that drives up finance interest rates to as much as 20 percent. Instead, the venture will use AI and blockchain to bring lender banks and customers together directly. It’ll also lean on blockchain’s visibility to better connect one port to the next and one customs operation to another, including “buyers and sellers with their warehouses directly connected by blockchain,” according to APMEN.

“We are excited to deliver a never-seen-before intelligent supply chain management platform driven by blockchain and super artificial intelligence technology,” Bruno Wu, chairman and co-CEO of Ideanomics, said. “We will integrate business data from various partners, establishing a risk control model in cooperation with a single window to provide risk control services for regulatory authorities and enterprises.”

Blockchain is a decentralized database technology connecting nodes of data. Because of its decentralized nature, blockchain typically is “controlled” by multiple stakeholders instead of one central owner or authority, which means that tampering with the database is near impossible. Blockchain is seen by many as a technology that can bring new efficiency and transparency to industries ranging from finance, cross-border trade and logistics to health care, supply chain, and retail and e-commerce.