Port management group PSA International has announced it is partnering with IBM to develop a blockchain-based supply chain trial.

The group, which is one of the leading port operators in Asia, is working in conjunction with the tech giants and a local shipping company to flesh out a proof-of-concept model, designed to automate the exchange of shipping documents for smoother freight movement across its network.

PSA, IBM and shipping company Pacific International Lines will work in consortium on the trial, which it is hoped could deliver cost savings and efficiency gains within backend port management processes.

PSA’s CEO, Tan Chong Meng, said the move could lead to a more efficient supply chain, with positive effects on global trade.

“Blockchain has the potential to reduce inefficiencies and gaps within the supply chain, promote more cost-efficient transactions and facilitate the continued growth in world trade. PSA looks forward to working alongside its partners in supporting this initiative and we will contribute our expertise and knowledge in managing ports and advancing supply chains.”

The announcement comes amidst a series of similar measures elsewhere in the shipping industry, as the major players look to leverage the opportunities provided by blockchain technology.

IBM announced a similar partnership with Maersk earlier in the year, in a project that will look at implementing smart contracts to further smooth the supply chain, amongst several others the tech group is working on within the sector.

Shipping and logistics are thought to be one of the most significant potential beneficiaries of blockchain technology, with the supply chain use case one of the most obvious implementations of distributed ledger technology.

Alongside financial services, shipping has been considered by analysts to be one of the most immediate sectors to benefit from blockchain applications, which could replace much of the paperwork currently involved in shipping transactions.

Tech partner IBM have quickly become market leaders in developing blockchain solutions, with an ever-increasing number of proofs-of-concept projects in the pipeline.

Through a series of commercial partnerships similar to the PSA deal, IBM are bringing practical commercial implementations of the technology to the forefront, across a range of different industries.