What if submitting commercial data could speed up your customs processes and help you reach consumers faster? What if safe and predictable border processes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and food waste? What if digital trade corridors could increase safety, reduce costs and make international trade more predictable? What if an ecosystem of trust for international trade could become a growth engine for the global economy?

From October 2022 to March 2023, Maersk and IBM led a consortium of industry partners looking to answer those very questions through the UK Government’s ‘Ecosystem of Trust’ pilot scheme. Alongside Hutchison Ports Port of Felixstowe, Maritime Cargo Processing, Pure Electric, Quantexa, Westbridge Foods, and WM Morrison Supermarkets, Maersk’s mission was to test a potential future border model that enables ‘frictionless trade’ through the advanced sharing of digital data.

By making supply chain visibility and trust verification data directly accessible to government agencies, one can enhance goods integrity and reduce risk to authorities – ultimately creating a trusted trade lane for border process facilitation.

The consortium ran a pilot that provided the UK Government with additional supply chain data for 700,000 consignments, and found that novel, digital, risk-based methods for border control can provide higher-quality data and decrease decision-making time for goods entering Great Britain by a significant 17%.

The tested model eliminated up to 62% of delays on imported goods that are subject to plant, animal or health controls – having a positive effect on waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, private sector customs data collection costs can be reduced by 40%, while the enhanced predictability of supply chains makes for more cost reductions through inventory optimisation.

In addition to the industry benefits, access to supply chain data improved Government teams’ confidence in their decision-making, therefore helping employees assess risk more accurately and target their resources more effectively.

So what’s next off the back of the scheme? The UK Government itself is taking forward the best practices to the Border Trade Demonstrator Initiative and the UK Single Trade Window programme. Maersk, meanwhile, is in dialogue with the UK Government and several other countries about extending the implementation of trusted trade lanes, trusted supply chains and digital trade corridors. This is the future of customs and we consider it a proud responsibility to have played our part in shaping it.

Special thanks to the UK Government, IBM and the consortium of industry partners for their part in the Ecosystem of Trust pilot scheme.

Watch the video above to find out more, or click here for the full evaluation report from the UK Government. The Ecosystem of Trust project was recently nominated in the C4DTI Awards at the UK Digital Trade Conference in London.









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