Published on February 20th, 20230
Nine ocean carrier members of DCSA commit to fully electronic bill of lading by 2030
India TradeLanes Staff
The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) said its nine ocean carrier members have pledged to convert 50 percent of the original bills of lading (B/L) to digital within five years and 100 percent by 2030 based on DCSA standards to accelerate the digitalisation of container trade.
Switching away from the transfer of physical paper bills of lading could save $6.5 billion in direct costs for stakeholders, enable $30-40 billion in annual global trade growth, transform the customer experience, and improve sustainability, it said in a statement.
The signatories to the commitment are Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), A.P. Moller-Maersk, CMA CGM Group, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen Marine, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM.
The bill of lading is one of the most important trade documents in container shipping. It functions as a document of title, receipt for shipped goods and a record of agreed terms and conditions. Ocean carriers issue around 45 million bills of lading a year. In 2021, only 1.2 percent of these were electronic.
Manual, paper-based processes are time-consuming, expensive, and environmentally unsustainable for stakeholders along complex supply chains. Paper-based processes breakdown when cargo in ports cannot be gated out because original bills of lading, or title documents fail to arrive or cannot be manually processed in time. In contrast, digital processes enable data to flow instantly and securely, reducing delays and waste.
Transforming document exchange through the eBL will accelerate digitalisation to benefit customers, banks, Customs/government authorities, providers of ocean shipping services and all maritime supply chain stakeholders.
“The digitalisation of international trade holds vast potential for the world economy by reducing friction and, as trade brings prosperity and the eBL will further enable trade, helping bring millions out of poverty. This heralds the start of a new era in container shipping as the industry transitions to scaled automation and fully paperless trade. Document digitalisation has the power to transform international trade and requires collaboration from all stakeholders,” Thomas Bagge, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), DCSA, said while applauding the joint efforts of member lines to achieve the milestone.