COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers has joined the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) and successfully issued the first electronic bill of lading (eBL) for bulk cargo.
GSBN is an independent, not-for-profit technology consortium building a blockchain-enabled operating system designed to redefine global trade. Meanwhile, COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers focuses on the transportation of special cargo, including oversized, super-heavy and bulk cargo that are unsuitable for containers.
"Given the nature of such cargo, shipping usually requires a longer transportation cycle and involves a more complex supply chain. Therefore, a flexible and versatile way to circulate bills of lading, in replacement of the traditional paper format, has a significant impact on the business in terms of enhancing efficiency, improving customer experience, mitigating risks, facilitating trade finance and ultimately expanding global trade," the announcement said.
Following the completion of its digital platform integration with IQAX's eBL application built on GSBN's blockchain infrastructure last year, COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers has embraced a full suite of eBL services, including issuance, circulation, endorsement, amendment and replacement in a trusted and secure environment.
It has now issued its first eBL for ELDORADO, a customer specialising in Contract of Affreightment (COA) for paper pulp, and it will continue to roll out eBL services for its wider customers.
"The issuance of this eBL for bulk cargo is a significant milestone. For mass adoption to happen, eBL solutions must address the holistic needs of the shippers for all forms of maritime transportation, whether it's container, bulk or tanker," said Bertrand Chen, CEO of GSBN.
"This is why GSBN's platform and infrastructure have been designed with the consideration of different standards and inherent interoperability from the get-go. As we look to the year ahead, we can expect even more carriers, financial institutions and other stakeholders across the industry to embrace paperless trade," Chen added.
Hu Yiyang, digitalization team leader of COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers, noted that this blockchain-based eBL transaction marks a breakthrough for its business and an "unprecedented and impressive step forward in our digital transformation journey."
"Harnessing the power of GSBN's blockchain infrastructure and the IQAX eBL solution built upon it, we are able to upgrade the customer experience and generate new value for our customers. We will continue to explore collaboration opportunities and bring more innovative services to customers across the globe," Yiyang added.
This latest announcement builds upon existing efforts by GSBN and partners in its ecosystem to develop eBL solutions, as well as its collaboration with standards bodies, including the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), to ensure its blockchain infrastructure can support all types of eBL solutions.