We also reported on news of shipping lines progressing to the next phase Blockchain initiatives..
Smart bills powered by blockchain seem to have arrived with more and more lines carrying out tests and succeeding in the same..
Pacific International Lines (“PIL”), the company founded by one of the Leaders and Visionaries in Shipping – Mr.Chang Yun Chung, became the latest shipping line to successfully use an electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) built on the IBM Blockchain Platform..
This bill of lading was used for the shipment and tracking of Mandarins (a type of Orange) from China to Singapore to coincide with the Lunar New Year celebrations..
Lunar New Year holds a very special place in the hearts of many people in Asia and Mandarins are considered a symbol of prosperity and are widely exchanged and eaten during the celebrations..
As per PIL, the IBM Blockchain powered e-BL, provided a significant reduction in the administrative process of transferring the title deed from seller to buyer.. Such processes could take anything between five to seven days for it to move from one party to the other..
As per PIL, using this this platform, the administrative process of transferring the title deed was reduced from five to seven days to just one second..
Hupco, one of the major importers in Singapore was the receipient/consignee of the order of approximately 108,000 mandarins in 3,000 cartons..
Commenting on the achievement, Mr Tay Khiam Back, Chairman and CEO of Hupco said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the trial. By using the e-BL, we have seen how the entire shipment process can be simplified and made more transparent with considerable cost savings.
Our customers can expect their orders in a more timely manner, and, importantly, with freshness assured.”
This success is significant especially since it was tested on perishable items such as fruits which can benefit from quick documentation handling time.. Perishable goods are usually shipped in Reefer containers and need quick data and document transfers to avoid any delays that can cause the product to be spoiled..
Smart Bills or electronic bills combined with blockchain technology have the capability to reduce document processing significantly, through the instantaneous digital transfer of the bill of lading making the document handling fully automated allowing goods to be delivered more quickly and efficiently..
Apart from quick document handling time, by using the electronic bill of lading, Hupco also benefited from lower operating costs such as electricity, demurrage, detention, port storage, and other cost savings due to enhanced equipment utilization..
As per a Skuld report, in recent years, the shipping industry and maritime commerce has seen a sharp increase not only in the number of fraud cases but also in the types of fraud..
Fraudsters are becoming more and more ingenious in their design and execution of schemes, including the use of modern technology, such as computer hacking, but sometimes tried & tested “old school” methods, such as document fraud, work just as well..
Out of the types of fraud mentioned in the report, Cargo and document fraud is one of the main types and accounts for almost 40% of all maritime fraud..
Blockchain enabled smart bills have a real-time visibility of documents as in the blockchain this is both traceable and tamper-proof providing greater security by helping prevent document fraud..
Lisa Teo, Executive Director of PIL, said: “We are pleased with the steady progress of our blockchain collaboration with IBM. To-date, we have received very positive feedback from the industry and authorities, and we are enthused by the possibilities of how our blockchain developments can transform and inject a much-needed boost in efficiency and innovation into the industry.”
Harriet Green, CEO and Chairman of IBM Asia Pacific, said: “A blockchain-based trade network will be a game-changer, and we have a great opportunity here with our partner PIL to revolutionize the documentation processes in a way that benefits the entire industry. Powered by blockchain, the e-BL developed by the IBM Research Singapore will be critical in helping to establish an extensible ecosystem for trade, thus expectedly enhancing trade efficiency and building trusted trade relationships among the industry players.”
The PIL-IBM collaboration announced in October 2018 was supported by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs (National TradePlatform), and Bank of China Limited Singapore Branch (BOC)..
PIL was one of the early adopters of the blockchain technology for bills of lading and are also a part of the Maersk and IBM’s TradeLens project in August.. Some of the other shipping lines and ports choose to form/join the blockchain alliance Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) in November 2018..
Even though blockchain may not be the panacea for the shipping and freight industry, these are some of the practical purposes where blockchain technology may be used successfully..