Tesla is helping Chinese state-owned company COSCO Shipping digitize its vast shipping data. COSCO has agreed to share shipping data with Tesla so the EV maker can test the system in the Chinese company’s Shanghai port.
“We will promote digitization of shipping,” the Chairman of COSCO Shipping Holdings, Xu Lirong, told Nikkei Asia. “We have established a system to exchange shipping data in real-time, using blockchain technology.”
Xu explained that international ports and logistics networks had lost their efficiency since the pandemic as governments adopted stricter measures to prevent the rise of coronavirus infections. COSCO owned the world’s third-largest fleet of container carriers by the end of 2020 by increasing its shipping capacity to avoid adverse effects from the pandemic. The company reported a net profit of $1.55 billion in 2020, up 47% from the previous year.
Last week, Elon Musk hinted at issues with the global supply chain for raw materials. Reports from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and IHS Markit revealed that the manufacturing sector is experiencing a boom, but supply chain issues have hindered growth.
“Record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices, and difficulties in transporting products are continuing to affect all segments of the manufacturing economy,” noted Timothy Fiore, Chair of ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee.
Company executives have had to make some tough calls while the global supply chain recovers from the pandemic. For instance, Tesla incrementally increased the price of its vehicles over the past few months and removed some car features, likely to save on costs.
COSCO gave Tesla the system it was using on a trial basis at a port in Shanghai. The system enabled employees to receive documents and other materials without touching them. Tesla’s work with COSCO shows the EV automaker’s determination to improve the global supply chain and be part of the solution.