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JM Baxi, IBM to launch blockchain-based platform


Privately-run logistics conglomerate JM Baxi Group is teaming up with IBM in a digital push to help the company expand in newer areas of business, transform their internal processes and jointly develop technology-led solutions and offerings leveraging IBM Blockchain.

The collaboration is aimed at helping India’s export-import (EXIM) trade and logistics industry with ease of doing business as the country’s ports and supply chain providers grapple with challenges of dealing with various vendors in an efficient manner.

The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding in Mumbai to collaborate on multiple projects by bringing the joint expertise in domain knowledge, techno-functional expertise, and technology expertise to solve business problems afflicting the EXIM trade and logistics industry.

Under the arrangement, both organisations shall jointly set up a Technology and Innovation Council to leverage the best of IBM’s technology expertise and JM Baxi group's industry expertise to incubate new ideas to jointly build next generation of client solutions.

IBM Watson services: The immediate goals of the Technology and Innovation Council will be to take up feasibility studies and projects on blockchain, enterprise data architecture and Artificial Intelligence (AI) using IBM Watson services. “The MoU envisages a joint go-to-market on feasible technology solutions,” a spokesman for JM Baxi group told. Mumbai-based JM Baxi group runs ships, port terminals, inland container depots (ICD) and provides customs broking and marine services.

In January this year, IBM and Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk Group announced setting up of a new joint venture company whose aim is to commercialise blockchain technology — the nifty, shared accounting ledgers first made famous by the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

The joint venture seeks to create an industry-wide trading platform to speed-up trade and save billions of dollars.

India’s trade and logistics service providers have been grappling with multiple coordination points like Customs, shipping lines, container freight stations, inland container depots, port terminals, stamp duty payments and dealing with multiple documentation involved at these locations. Payments by DD/ cheque/ cash etc, often delay cargo clearance process. The absence of live updates and shipment delivery problems during holidays add to the woes.

There are some 21 government departments involved in the export-import chain some way or the other. It takes about 8-10 days for completing documentation – 7 for exports and 10 for imports — in India compared with four days in Germany. These agencies have different ways of interpreting procedures leading to litigations that take years to be decided.

India’s efforts to automate trade logistics business processes at ports have so far taken a silo approach rather than an integrated one.

As a result, it hardly made any impact on the export-import trade logistics processes, a logistics industry executive said.

In 2017, JM Baxi rolled out ‘Portall’, a logistics management application, seeking to help customers have complete transparency and trust of the entire export/import processes with real-time updates, alerts, and notifications by providing a single interface. A dashboard allows users to check respective shipment status and plan further activities and a payment gateway will assist users to make online payments with options like net banking, UPI, credit card etc.