Many things have changed in the last 30 years in shipping and freight..
Many positive new developments have taken place with things from the vintage days of shipping either obsolete to almost obsolete now..
If you look at many of the news items about the industry recently, there has been a certain buzz and intensity around the electronic bill of lading..
I am fairly confident that people entering the shipping and freight industry in the next decade will be told that 2020 was the year that saw the beginning of the end for the paper “Bill of Lading” and the year in which the switch to “Electronic Bill of Lading” (eBL) began in earnest..
Probably not related to COVID-19 but right on time, Ocean Network Express (ONE), the world’s sixth largest container line became the latest shipping line to offer fully electronic bills of lading to their customers..
As we have seen, we are in a unique moment in history as COVID-19 sweeps through the world affecting all countries around the world and in many cases disrupting the flow of physical documentation flow, especially with regards to Original Bills of Lading..
ONE announced recently that they handled their first ever electronic negotiable Bill of Lading (eB/L) using essDOCS’s paperless document solution, CargoDocs..
Last year, I asked a question “Electronic bill of lading – are you and your country ready for it..??”..
This question could not be more relevant TODAY, considering the current circumstances, and the impact COVID-19 on the shipping and freight industry..
An electronic paperless bill of lading is a bill of lading issued electronically instead of being printed on paper and issued physically to the customer as a hard copy..
Whether using an electronic paperless bill of lading issued on the back of a Blockchain based platform or a Bolero based platform, these electronic bill of lading options are said to fulfill the functions in the same manner as a traditional paper bill of lading..
Many believe that the electronic bill of lading will be a game changer in the shipping industry with faster, efficient transactions, reduction in costs with greater security and less risk..
However, there were concerns on the issue of safety, security and acceptability relating to the transmission and receipt of electronic paperless bill of lading and in several cases it was required to check whether the carrier and country were ready for electronic paperless bill of lading..
Currently, we are in a unique moment in history where as per reports, COVID-19 has affected all countries around the world.. And this my friends is a time when almost all shipping lines and customers would be wishing that they had access to Electronic Paperless Bills of Lading..
Global trade has been around for centuries in various forms, starting from the Silk roads to the current Digital economy/age and has come a long way bringing alongwith it many changes and advances..
After the 3rd Industrial Revolution brought the Internet into play, there has been no turning back for globalisation with global exports accounting for almost 25% of global GDP..
Digitalisation, which was very much in its infancy a few decades ago has become the new frontier of globalization.. Advances like Blockchain, IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have arrived in our industry as well and are here to stay, innovate and enhance global trade..
One of the digital advances that is catching on quite quick is an Electronic Bill of Lading..