Specifically, TradeLens is a collaboration between Maersk and IBM, as they use blockchain technology as the foundation for digitizing supply chains, enabling increased industry innovation, reduced trade friction and, ultimately, increased global trade.

H.E Mr. Ahmed Al-Hakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs, commented

To establish the Kingdom as one of the world’s premier logistics hub we needed to create a paradigm shift in the way we handle our shipping processes and explore futuristic approaches with our peer-to-peer business ecosystem worldwide. We hope our pilot program will stand the test of time to include other ports as well.

Concerning the shipment, the container gated into Dammam Terminal on March 27. Later, the commercial invoice and packing list were uploaded by the customer to the TradeLens platform in a structured format, with their export customs broker using the data in these documents to submit export declaration to Saudi customs.

Saudi Customs were provided with the shipment’s information when accessed and were able to use them.


Then, the container was loaded onboard Maersk Sebarok, transmitted in the Port of Tangier and then headed to Rotterdam, where Dutch Port Community System Portbase provided the Dutch customs release messages and gate-out information directly to the TradeLens platform.

Next the container was transported by truck to a location close to Antwerp, Belgium and its final destination.

The shipment was monitored in the TradeLens platform for key shipment events and document milestones. Using blockchain-backed structured documentation, data from the shipment’s documents were analyzed by both the export and import customs authorities and the cargo owners via the platform.