TradeLens, a Maersk and IBM solution, delivers a blockchain-enabled visibility and document management solution for container shipping that promotes more efficient and secure global trade

IBM United States Software Announcement 218-524
December 11, 2018

Table of contents
Key prerequisitesKey prerequisitesTechnical informationTechnical information
Planned availability datePlanned availability dateOrdering informationOrdering information
DescriptionDescriptionTerms and conditionsTerms and conditions
Program numberProgram numberPricesPrices

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Top rule

TradeLens, the Maersk and IBM® solution formerly known as Global Trade Digitization (GTD), enables digital collaboration across the multiple parties that are involved in international trade. Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation, and customs authorities can interact more efficiently through near real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents.

The TradeLens Platform provides:

  • Near real-time shipping milestones from a diverse network of ecosystem participants that offers finer-grained visibility than traditional track-and-trace approaches.
  • Structured and unstructured document sharing in the context of a shipment that is integrated with milestone events.
  • Permissioned information sharing. Client and shipper visibility to shipment milestones and documents is controlled by platform defaults but can be overridden by the Transport Services Buyer.
  • Opportunity to lower IT setup and maintenance costs. Information is exchanged through a common connection instead of numerous point-to-point integrations.

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Key requirements

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TradeLens requires access to the internet and a supported browser.

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Planned availability date

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December 11, 2018

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Global Trade is a complex ecosystem that involves multi-party transactions, each of which may include dozens of public and private sector entities in each shipment. The TradeLens Platform aims to digitize the global supply chain, with a network that:

  • Fosters collaboration and trust.
  • Allows permissioned information sharing.
  • Spurs innovation by enabling third-parties to provide services through an open platform API.

Network members, such as logistics service providers and authorities, benefit from a standard approach to information sharing and a platform for future innovation. Clients, such as shippers and consignees, can drive a streamlined and improved supply chain to enable:

  • Greater predictability
  • Early notification of issues
  • Transparency to validate fees and surcharges
  • Ability to use platform data to better manage their inventory

Shipping milestones

As shipping containers move through the supply chain, they pass from one entity to another, with each entity capturing a record of the interaction with the cargo in its own systems of record. These entities communicate with each other through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), email, and telephone. This results in information trapped in separate systems. It makes simple questions like "where is my cargo?" difficult to answer.

The TradeLens Platform provides a near real-time publish and subscribe mechanism for exchanging this milestone data across entities that are involved in the shipment. Importers and exporters who use TradeLens can determine the status of their shipments through the TradeLens user interface (UI) or by subscribing to an event feed and integrating TradeLens data into their existing systems, such as:

  • Control towers
  • Transportation management systems (TMS)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems

Trade documents

International container shipping generates a multitude of documents. Examples include:

  • Commercial invoices
  • Packing lists
  • Purchase orders
  • Sales orders
  • Import declarations
  • Certificates of origin
  • Inspection certificates
  • Other

These documents can be communicated through EDI, however they are often sent either as original paper through air courier or as attachments to email.

The TradeLens Platform provides permissioned document sharing in the context of a shipment by using a common set of organizational roles that are native to international trade. Documents can be shared in both structured data format and unstructured data format, such as scans or PDFs. This precludes the need for costly point-to-point communications and unlocks the potential for digitization and automation in the supply chain.

Permissioned information sharing

The lack of trust and varying degrees of sophistication in existing systems that are used for global trade leads to a reliance on traditional point-to-point communication technologies and manual processes. This, in turn, makes it challenging to create end-to-end views of the complex, multi-party, cross-border transactions that make up current supply chains.

The TradeLens Platform provides a network-based approach for handling this information and provides a flexible model for identifying the organizations that participate in a shipment or consignment. Along with that model, the TradeLens Platform has a contractual framework that encodes a set of default information-sharing permissions and a mechanism for transport services buyers to override those defaults with their own preferences. The roles are based on global standards and the default permissions are optimized to allow free flow of information and cargo, while serving to protect the commercial interests of TradeLens participants.

Lower IT setup and maintenance costs

The current industry struggles with a lack of standards and the predominance of point-to-point communication. This results in high IT setup and maintenance costs for any sort of automation. Large importers and exporters invest in point-to-point connectivity with their major logistics service providers. This results in high setup costs and high switching costs. Standards-based, network-based communication approaches such as the TradeLens Platform may reduce the need for customization, monitoring, and maintenance of these point-to-point connections.

Accessibility by people with disabilities

A US Section 508 Accessibility Compliance Report containing details on accessibility compliance can be found on the Product accessibility information website.

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Program number

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Program number VRM Program name
5900-A3M Cloud Service TradeLens

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Offering Information

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Product information is available on the IBM Offering Information website.

More information is also available on the Passport Advantage® and Passport Advantage Express® website.

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The TradeLens documentation can be found on the TradeLens documentation website.

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Software Services

IBM Software Services has the breadth, depth, and reach to manage your services needs. You can leverage the deep technical skills of our lab-based, software services team and the business consulting, project management, and infrastructure expertise of our IBM Global Services team. Together, we provide the global reach, intellectual capital, industry insight, and technology leadership to support a wide range of critical business needs.

To learn more about IBM Software Services, contact your Lab Services Sales or Delivery Leader.

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Technical information

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Specified operating environment

Software requirements

TradeLens supports the following browsers:

  • Apple Safari
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft™ EdgeHTML
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox

To find the more information about the supported browsers for TradeLens, see the TradeLens Detailed System Requirements website and select the Supported Software tab.

Planning information


This offering is accessed through the internet. There is no physical media or electronic deliverable.

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Ordering information

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For ordering information, consult your IBM representative or go to the Passport Advantage website.

This product is only available through Passport Advantage. It is not available as shrinkwrap.

Passport Advantage

Part name/Description Part number
TradeLens Platform - Core Item Overage D00TPZX
TradeLens Platform - Core Item per Annum D00TQZX
TradeLens Platform - Core Usage-Based Access per Month D00TRZX
TradeLens Platform - Core Usage-Based Item Pay per Use D00TSZX
TradeLens Platform Network Member Access per Month D00TTZX

Charge metric

Definitions of the charge metric for this cloud service can be found in the following Service Description document:

Program identifier Service Description document title Service Description document number
5900-A3M TradeLens 8178-02

Select your language of choice and scroll down to the Charge Metrics section.

Follow-on levels of this cloud service, if any, may have updated charge metrics. See the Cloud Services terms website. Search using the four-digit base Service Description number and scroll down to the Charge Metric section.

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Terms and conditions

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The information provided in this announcement letter is for reference and convenience purposes only. The terms and conditions that govern any transaction for the acquisition of Cloud Services from IBM consist of either the IBM Cloud™ Services Agreement and the applicable offering Service Description or the IBM International Passport Advantage Agreement or the International Passport Advantage Express Agreement and the IBM Terms of Use - General Terms for Cloud Offerings and the applicable offering Service Description.

Technical support

Technical support is provided for Cloud Services and enabling software, as applicable, during the subscription period. Any enhancements, updates, and other materials provided by IBM as part of any such technical support are considered to be part of the Cloud Service, as applicable, and therefore governed by the applicable agreement as defined in Client's quote or transaction document. Technical support is included with the Cloud Service and is not available as a separate offering.

Additional technical support information for this Cloud Service offering may be found in the IBM Support Handbook or in service-specific documentation.

Service Description

The following Service Description document applies to the offering in this announcement.

Program identifier Service Description document title Service Description document number
5900-A3M TradeLens 8178-01

Follow-on levels of this cloud service, if any, may have updated terms. See the Cloud Services terms website and search using the four-digit base Service Description number.

Limited warranty

See the warranty defined in the applicable agreement governing client's acquisition for this offering.

Money-back guarantee


Volume orders (IVO)


Passport Advantage applies

Yes, information is available on the Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express website.

Educational allowance available


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Statement of good security practices

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IT system security involves protecting systems and information through intrusion prevention, detection, and response to improper access from within and outside your enterprise. Improper access can result in information being altered, destroyed, or misappropriated or can result in misuse of your systems to attack others. Without a comprehensive approach to security, no IT system or product should be considered completely secure and no single product or security measure can be completely effective in preventing improper access. IBM systems and products are designed to be part of a regulatory compliant, comprehensive security approach, which will necessarily involve additional operational procedures, and may require other systems, products, or services to be most effective.

Important: IBM does not warrant that any systems, products, or services are immune from, or will make your enterprise immune from, the malicious or illegal conduct of any party.

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Passport Advantage

For Passport Advantage information and charges, contact your IBM representative. Additional information is also available on the Passport Advantage and Passport Advantage Express website.

IBM Global Financing

IBM Global Financing offers competitive financing to credit-qualified clients to assist them in acquiring IT solutions. Offerings include financing for IT acquisition, including hardware, software, and services, from both IBM and other manufacturers or vendors. Offerings (for all client segments: small, medium, and large enterprise), rates, terms, and availability can vary by country. Contact your local IBM Global Financing organization or go to the IBM Global Financing website for more information.

IBM Global Financing offerings are provided through IBM Credit LLC in the United States, and other IBM subsidiaries and divisions worldwide to qualified commercial and government clients. Rates are based on a client's credit rating, financing terms, offering type, equipment type, and options, and may vary by country. Other restrictions may apply. Rates and offerings are subject to change, extension, or withdrawal without notice.


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