Singapore developing standards for seamless digitalisation of shipping trade documents

Singapore is aiming to move forward with the digitalisation of shipping trade documentaton such as Bills of Lading (BLs) by developing standards inter-operability of different solutions that use technology such as block chain.

The last year has seen the successful trial electronic BLs based on block chain by two consortiums in Singapore one by APL and the other by Pacific International Lines (PIL) and IBM.

Speaking at the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) annual Lunar New Year cocktail reception Lam Pin Min, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health said: “These are significant milestones in the development of digital solutions for the sector.”

As different solutions develop for the digitalisation of shipping trade documentaton the ability for these systems to be able to work together is becoming a key issue.

Lam said in his speech it had been highligthed to him that: “We must find a way for all these digital solutions and eco-systems to work together, only then can we achieve seamless digitisation of trade documentaton across the board.”


To this end at three-party Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that MPA, SSA and Singapore Customs signed last January was expanded on Tuesday evening a new MOU partner, Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), to develop a new inter-operability framework. The MoU signing ceremony took place at the reception.

“This framework will guide the development of legal and technical standards as well interoperable digital infrastructure that can be applied internationally,” Minister Lam said.

With the bringing in of the IMDA the aim is for the inudstry to be see different digital ecosystems inter-operate seamlessly with efficient exchange of electronic trade documents.

Posted 22 January 2019

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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