COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co., Ltd (“COSCO Energy”) and COSCO Shipping Bulk CO., Ltd (“COSCO Bulk”) have become the latest in a string of organizations adopting and issuing electronic bills of lading (eBL).
COSCO Energy and COSCO Bulk have partnered with Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), a neutral, not-for-profit consortium enabling efficient, paperless, and sustainable growth in global trade, and successfully issued their first eBL for their energy transportation and bulk shipments.
COSCO Bulk’s eBL was for Yancoal, an Australian-based coal producer while COSCO Energy’s bill of lading was for 30,000 tons of domestic trade marine oil for China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
These eBLs connect all stakeholders in the value chain including banks, traders, miners, and end-users with both bills of lading confirmed by both upstream and downstream parties and duly delivered to the carrier to complete the release.
The extended coverage of eBL to cover all types of cargo is also expected to empower banks to provide a wider range of trade finance services to the industry.
This release is seen as a major accomplishment for both companies and GSBN as traditionally, both bulk and energy shipments rely heavily on letters of indemnity (LOIs) as proof of shipment ownership to authorize cargo release to the consignee in the absence of an original bill of lading.
However, carriers often face the risk of misdelivery when LOIs are used, making them vulnerable to several misdelivery claims. Based on the integration with IQAX’s eBL application built on GSBN’s blockchain infrastructure, both COSCO Bulk and COSCO Energy can significantly improve the security and consistency of the title transfer with immutable records across the value chain.
Commenting on the milestone, Bertrand Chen, CEO of GSBN said, “Our goal has always been to develop GSBN into a platform that can support the full spectrum of shipping. This announcement therefore represents a significant milestone for the consortium and the digitisation journey for the industry.
The successful issuance of eBLs for bulk cargo and energy shipment will also unlock greater trade finance for the industry as banks want a single point to interface with all types of eBLs and trusted shipping data, especially for high-value cargo such as bulk and energy transportation.”
From their side, COSCO Energy said, “For large value and high risk of oil tanker transportation, an eBL based on blockchain technology substantially improves the efficiency of document circulation, reduces logistics cost and commercial risk. It also guarantees the authenticity, security, and uniqueness of the bill of lading, while promoting decarbonization in line with ESG practices.”
Adding its voice, COSCO Bulk said, “This blockchain-based eBL transaction marks a breakthrough for our business, it’s the first time connecting all the stakeholders across the trade finance value chain. Harnessing the power of GSBN’s blockchain infrastructure, we can offer a more efficient, trust, and secured solution for our customers globally.”
COSCO Energy is a company specializing in the shipment of energy including oil and natural gas. Its tanker fleet is the world’s largest by capacity, owning and controlling 155 tankers with a capacity of 22.74 million DWT. It is also investing in a Liquefied Natural Gas-powered fleet of 73 vessels with a capacity of 12.42 million cubic meters.
COSCO Bulk is the largest professional bulk shipping corporation in the world with more than 400 various types of bulk carriers and nearly 40 million DWT, loading iron ore, coal, grain, and other bulk cargo.