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Solution Architecture

Copyright IBM Corporation and GTD Solution Inc. 2018, 2019

Solution Landscape

The TradeLens solution landscape incorporates the ecosystem of participants on the platform, the platform itself, and a set of applications and services that sit atop the platform.

TradeLens Solution Landscape1c

The Ecosystem includes the TradeLens participants, such as ocean carriers, ports, 3PL, customs authorities, and shippers, that connect to, provide data to, and use the platform.

The Platform is accessible by an open API and brings together the ecosystem through a set of open standards. It enables the industry to share information and collaborate. Blockchain and cloud technologies power the platform. The platform securely hosts the TradeLens data.

The Marketplace is an open platform that allows both TradeLens and third-parties to publish fit-for-purpose services atop the TradeLens platform.

Platform Architecture

The TradeLens Platform employs a cloud-native approach. APIs deliver TradeLens functionality and are public-facing and documented. The Platform Services layer uses containerized, horizontally scalable microservices linked together using a publish / subscribe service. Multiple persistence layers are used, including object storage, document databases, relational databases, and blockchain, depending on the type of information being persisted and the manner in which it is accessed. Managed Services, including PaaS and DBaaS components, are also used to leverage cloud economies of scale and drive efficiencies.

TradeLens Platform Architecture1c


Blockchain is used to address trust challenges, provide a shared view of the truth, and provide an immutable audit trail. When managing data that does not involve such challenges, TradeLens employs traditional persistence layers. TradeLens uses the IBM Blockchain Platform, which is based on Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source permissioned blockchain where the peer members, or “Trust Anchors”, are known to the network based on cryptographic identities.

TradeLens Blockchain1c

Dots designate node participation in a channel

The Blockchain network topology will ensure segregation across ocean carriers. In particular:

  • TradeLens and participating ocean carriers can each host and manage a Blockchain node.
  • Each node includes the Blockchain platform components as well as dedicated Blockchain-managed document storage for that node.
  • A channel is established for each participating ocean carrier.
  • Sensitive information including documents are distributed only to those nodes participating in a channel; this means that none of an ocean carrier’s customer information will be distributed to other ocean carriers.
  • Documents are stored on a single node only, and are accessed at runtime by other nodes on a channel as permissions allow.