Canada Border Services Agency Begins Pilot Using Blockchain

November 1, 2018

“It’s early days still, but from what I’ve seen, blockchain has the potential to provide benefits”

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have started a pilot program that uses TradeLens, a blockchain platform jointly developed by IBM and Moller-Maersk.

John Ossowski, President of CBSA commented that through the “TradeLens pilot, the CBSA has the opportunity to investigate how to create a singular, trusted digital supply chain for all shipments entering Canada.”

“TradeLens gives us an opportunity to not only find process efficiencies and gain analytical insights, but improve data accuracy and targeting capabilities.”

Over the course of an average day the CBSA provides services across 1,200 points of entry and 39 international locations. This sees the agency deal with 127,400 courier shipments, 14,400 trucks and over 240,000 mailed items, all of which have to be tracked and recorded.

Mr Ossowski pointed out: “It’s early days still, but from what I’ve seen, blockchain has the potential to provide benefits for regulatory compliance and contract management, which remain largely paper-based, costly and complex processes.”

“Blockchains can establish timely, immutable and transparent audit trails that have the potential to curb the costs of managing contracts and enforcing regulations,” he added.


TradeLens uses the blockchain to build smart contracts which allow multiple groups to work together with a single shared view of transactions that doesn’t break standards around privacy and sensitive data.

Writing in a previous announcement IBM noted how companies using blockchain smart contracts and TradeLens enable: “importers/exporters, customs brokers, trusted third parties such as Customs and NGOs to collaborate in cross-organizational business processes and information exchanges, all backed by a secure, non-reputable audit trail.”

TradeLens runs on a permissioned blockchain built on Hyperledger Fabric. Fabric is the first blockchain system that runs distributed applications written in standard, general-purpose programming languages, (e.g., Go, Java, Node.js), without systemic dependency on a native cryptocurrency.

Maersk and IBM have made the APIs for the entire solution open. This is to help foster an environment of innovation with regards to the platform.


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