Saudi Customs Pilot Sees the Integration of Customs Tracking Feature with IBM and Maersk TradeLens Blockchain Solution
As part of its blockchain pilot program, Saudi Customs, with its IT partner, Tabadul, oversaw the integration of FASAH with TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled global shipping solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM. FASAH is Saudi Arabia’s national platform which connects all government and private entities involved in cross border trade. Saudi Customs is the governmental authority responsible for facilitating the safe and efficient import and export of trade goods and associated services via land, sea and air. The pilot aimed to link FASAH with TradeLens for selected services to ensure immutability, traceability, reduced reconciliation, auditability, and compliance. “The pilot comes in line with our strategy that aims to facilitate trade and enhance security levels, while working to establish the kingdom as one of the world’s premier logistics hubs” said H.E Mr. Ahmed Alhakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs. The launch is part of ongoing trials and forms part of the Authority’s commitment to achieving the ambitious goals set out in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which is aimed at diversifying the Kingdom’s economy, attracting international investments, and driving overall growth through the adoption and implementation of ground-breaking technologies and innovative practices. In doing so, Saudi Customs says it has been able to develop a new roadmap that takes a pioneering approach to accelerating change across its operations through the adoption of new technologies that simplify and automate customs procedures and deliver world-class services to clients. Through its adoption of blockchain, Saudi Customs aims to be the first in the region that is able to provide remarkable customs services that will see the Kingdom become a global logistics hub. “The recent pilot to link FASAH to the TradeLens platform clearly illustrates that we are on the right track,” Added the Governor of Saudi Customs. "We believe blockchain is playing a vital role in creating new trust-based digital ecosystems for agencies like Saudi Customs," said Tarek Zarg El Aioun, Country General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabia. "Through its adoption of blockchain-enabled TradeLens, Saudi Customs is helping transform the shipping industry in the region and enabling faster, transparent and more efficient real-time operations." In this context, Maersk Saudi Area Director Said Mohammed Shihab stated: “We believe at Maersk that blockchain technology will play an important role in digitizing global shipping. We are in the forefront of adapting and harnessing this technology to that effect.” He added: “Today we are proud to combine the blockchain technology empowered by Tradelens, the expertise of Saudi Customs along with our shipping expertise to deliver a significant milestone in the adaption of this technology.” A key player on the Saudi trade and logistics landscape, Saudi Customs is testing the use of blockchain to create a real solution for a fragmented peer-to-peer business ecosystem in solving difficult problems such as platform challenge (Current generation of technology is not scalable, complete or mature), business challenge (group of ecosystem participants and competitors must agree to cooperate), data interoperability (Need to clearly agree on structure and format of complex data), solution construction (the need to build, test and deploy a large complex system). By being an early adopter to the blockchain, Saudi Customs is committed to educate, experiment and extend to the broader ecosystem by setting realistic expectations, experimenting, understanding the decentralized nature of this technology and preparing to migrate away from the traditional platform technology.