back to article IBM struggles to sign up shipping carriers to blockchain supply chain platform – reports

IBM has admitted that its blockchain-based trade platform, set up with shipping giant Maersk, is struggling to gain traction with other carriers. The joint venture began about 10 months ago with the aim of simplifying the cost, complexity and size of global shipping networks, while offering more transparency and cutting the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could this solve...

    ...the Northern Ireland Brexit problem?

    <sprinting hard>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Could this solve...

      No.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Could this solve...

      It describes the official label on the goods and the official manifest.

      It does not do anything regarding the actual contents of the container.

      So there is absolutely no problem for the blockchain ledger to contain information that this container is full of cucumbers while it is loaded with AA missiles. Not like this did not happen before and not like it is not happening now.

      One question that came across my mind is that the number of containers travelling around the world is ridiculous. It probably exceeds the number of transactions in most ledger applications. How does this solution deal with the growth of the blockchain? Is the ledger reset somehow? What happens if it grows to a stupid size?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Odd choice of industry ...

    hard to imagine a more conservative industry - maybe insurance and banking ?

    Quite amusing to see IBM choking on it's own snake oil.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd choice of industry ...

      Actually, a perfect industry. You have people on opposite sides of the globe shipping 40' metal boxes full of some very expensive stuff. You need an airtight chain-of-possession system to make sure the right people are sending and receiving. Done today by a thing called a bill-of-lading. But yeah, having worked in the IT arm of a (now defunct and bought out by CMA/CGM after being bought out by NOL) shipping company for close to two decades; really conservative old-line management doth abound.

      It is also a shaky industry: huge capital costs, lots of competition, one 500# gorilla (Maersk), and if the global economy catches a cold, the liner business gets pneumonia. I bet they're all looking over their shoulders waiting for Trump's tariffs to tank trade; at which point they're sitting on a bunch of expensive ships without enough goods to fill them... queue the rate-cutting and BOOM... another 5 acquisitions and/or bankruptcies. Good luck to them what's still trying to make a living in that space.

  3. monty75
    Joke

    Shocked

    You mean you can't just slap "blockchain" on something and watch the money roll in? I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: Shocked

      You mean you can't just slap "blockchain" on something and watch the money roll in?

      Blockchain is already old hat. Blockchain AI is the way of the future.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps - just perhaps -

    these clowns should have tried *understanding* blockchain, before trying to sell it ?

    I had the privilege of being at IBM Hursley in August 2016, when they were plugging their blockchain efforts. After embarrassing them enough that my boss had to ask me to shut up (because he had some nice kickbacks from the Blue one) it was obvious they didn't really grasp it.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Perhaps - just perhaps -

      The "problem" is that there is no intersection between the sets of those who understand blockchain and those who think they need a blockchain.

    2. mtnz

      Re: Perhaps - just perhaps -

      Would you mind enlightening us further about what you know and they don't?

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Re: Perhaps - just perhaps -

        Would you mind enlightening us further about what you know and they don't?

        It lies in proof of stake vs. proof of work

      2. Christian Berger Silver badge

        It's not about what they know...

        "Would you mind enlightening us further about what you know and they don't?"

        ... but what they choose to believe. The basic idea behind a blockchain is that you have a public log which everybody can check and everybody does check in a very distributed way.

        That's only superficially what logistics need. Sure a common log would be good, but it shouldn't necessarily be public, also you only have a smallish number of partners. A more sensible solution would be to have a contract (as in shipping order) which is signed by both the sender and the recipient. This will be stored at all parties who need to know, and in case of disputes every side can proof which contract was agreed uppon. No "blockchain" or crypto puzzles nessesary.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Control...

    “This is the weakness we're currently seeing in many of these initiatives, as each individual project claims to offer an industry platform that they themselves control. This is self-contradictory.”

    And then added "but I just wish we'd got there first so we could stick it to Maersk..."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the blockchain problem ...

    is that you *can't* control it. Not if you want it it work as a blockchain.

    This is a problem, because a lot of boards of directors don't understand how co-operation works. All they know is that they are being asked to spend money on something they can't "own".

    When they've died or retired, we could see a bigger uptake of the idea.

    Bear in mind, the advantages of a blockchain - immutable proof of transactions available to anyone who has a stake (nice shout upthread) - aren't appealing to all, as it makes it impossible to retrospectively change what happened. Which is a staple of modern accounting and politics.

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