Danish shipping conglomerate Maersk has become the latest major company to propose a blockchain solution, in this case seeking to apply distributed ledger technology to the maritime insurance use case.

The company, one of the largest freight shipping groups in the world, has partnered with EY and Microsoft for the development, alongside blockchain specialists Guardtime, in a project that will see implementation work begin on the new blockchain protocol.

The model is to be developed on Microsoft’s Azure blockchain infrastructure, and will create a shared access database for recording shipping insurance contracts, alongside details of potential risks, in a bid to ease compliance with international insurance obligations.

The information recorded on the database will be made fully transparent, ensuring greater interoperability across what are technically complex arrangements, spanning multiple different software systems.

Importantly, Maersk has already leapt over the proof-of-concept hurdle, having trialled the system internally in its prototype and testing phases. The new model looks set to be rolled out into practical use by Maersk from today, while specialist insurers such as XL Catlin and MS Amlin have also expressed their desire to use the new system.

According to representatives from professional services firm EY, advisers to the project, the blockchain solution could help sharpen up what is regarded as a ‘complete inefficient’ industry under current systems and infrastructure.

Microsoft Azure’s chief technology officer, Mark Russinovish, said the marine insurance use case was a good demonstration of how blockchain technology can help improve the function of industries across the spectrum of different sectors.

“Marine insurance is a prime example of a complex business process that can be optimized with blockchain.”

According to reports from project insiders, the blockchain model has already been developed, and is scheduled to be rolled out from January 2018.

The project is only the latest foray into blockchain development from the shipping giant, alongside two other recent high profile projects from the group.

These have included a collaboration with Singaporean port authorities to create a blockchain for more effective supply chain management, and a cargo-track project, which is being developed in partnership with IBM.