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Chinese ports to be linked by blockchain technology

Chinese tech firm OneConnect will employ advanced technologies to improve cross-border trade across the Greater Bay Area

Chinese technology solution firm OneConnect announced in the early hours of this morning that they were launching a “linked port” technology ecosystem. This will be part of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Port Logistics and Trade Facilitation Blockchain Platform Project being developed in collaboration with the China Merchants Group.

The project will initially link the ports of Shekou and Shunde before being expanded to all 37 ports in the Greater Bay Area. It is hoped the new system will increase cross-border trade efficiency in the area by streamlining port clearance processes, improving communication and making the ports more competitive.

OneConnect will employ artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing, in addition to blockchain, with the aim of creating smart ports through the use of smart trade, smart regulation and smart financial processes. Trade participants and customs officials will be able to interact efficiently to verify the authenticity of transactions through information registered on the blockchain network.

Smart regulation will streamline the customs clearance process by combining two separate customs declaration procedures. Real-time information capture made possible through Internet of Things-based processes will help customs departments deal with sensitive data by issuing real-time warnings. Meanwhile, the authentication processes will be enhanced by storing logistics data on the blockchain where it is traceable and tamper-proof, allowing for automatic cross-verification.

OneConnect previously announced in July that they had signed an agreement to help build a thriving financial sector in the Hainan Free Trade Port, and now they plan to improve integrated trade finance services across dozens of ports through digital financial services including cross-border e-commerce financing and export tax rebate financing.

The new technology project, which is being promoted by the Shenzhen municipal government as part of their new infrastructure plan, has already shown promise in trials. Transportation and customs declaration costs were reduced by 30% in a pilot which saw 200 twenty-foot equivalent units imported and exported between the ports of Shekou and Shunde. The advanced technology also reduced the length of logistics processes from between five and seven days to just two days, which will be important with increasing container throughput and cross-border trade if the Greater Bay Area wishes to remain competitive.

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