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The CBSA Pilots Blockchain Technology

From left to right: Ayman Antoun, President, IBM Canada; John Ossowski, President, CBSA and Jack Mahoney, President, Maersk Canada.

This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner.

John Ossowski, President, CBSA

As of fall 2018, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is participating in a pilot project, led by IBM and Maersk, to evaluate the capacity of TradeLens, a digital shipping solution, designed to improve data quality and facilitate the movement of goods using what's known as blockchain-based technology.

This pilot project will allow the CBSA to determine what role, if any, the TradeLens platform could play in its business processes. The desired outcome for the Agency is to benefit from the advantages that blockchain can offer – specifically, improved data quality and security, transaction transparency, and increased availability of information. Currently, there are more than 90 organizations using the platform.

"This development is an example of the Government of Canada using innovative technology to easily and securely facilitate trade and engage in global trading ecosystems in a modern, productive manner," said John Ossowski, President, CBSA. "TradeLens could create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada. The TradeLens pilot gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data providence, accuracy and targeting capabilities. The end result may be a faster and more reliable national supply chain, which could positively impact Canada's economic output."

The use of the digitized platform, TradeLens, aims to replace the paper trail with electronic scheduling, clearance and billing while tracing containers more precisely. Current systems receive electronic messages sent by the industry's system (system to system exchange). A blockchain solution is a shared record system (a ledger) that allows participants to enter and review information on the same system, without exchanges of electronic messages in the traditional way. It allows to record transactions (changes in property, responsibility, etc.) faster and at less cost than traditional systems.

The Agency has made tremendous progress in recent years to facilitate trade and promote efficiency at the border by requiring paperless processes to move goods across the border. The CBSA is pleased to see the industry investing towards the same goal within its operation.

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