Pacific International Lines has tested the use of an electronic bill of lading in a pilot shipment of mandarin oranges from China for the Lunar New Year celebrations.
According to PIL, the e-BL is powered by IBM blockchain technology and allowed for a significant reduction in the administrative process of transferring the title deed from around five to seven days to just one second.
This bill of lading is one of the most crucial documents in international trade and is typically issued by a shipping carrier to document the title or ownership of goods. It also functions as a receipt of goods and a contract for the shipment.
“We are pleased with the steady progress of our blockchain collaboration with IBM,” said Lisa Teo, executive director of PIL. “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.”
Hupco Pte Ltd., a major importer in Singapore of mandarin oranges for the Lunar New Year, took part in the e-BL trial as the consignee of 3,000 cartons of mandarin oranges.
“We are delighted with the outcome of the trial,” said Tay Khiam Back, chairman and CEO of Hupco. “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.”
Companies such as Hupco are able to collect their goods faster with the immediate receipt of the electronic bill of lading. They can also benefit from lower operating costs, storage costs and cost savings from enhanced equipment utilization. Documents are traceable in real time and are tamper-proof.
PIL and IBM announced their e-BL collaboration and proof of concept in October 2018.
“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,” said Harriet Green, CEO and chairman of IBM Asia Pacific. “Powered by blockchain, the e-BL developed by 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.”