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Demise of paper Bill of Lading inching closer

The demise of the paper Bill of Lading (B/L) has been long talked about and may finally becoming a reality as G2 Ocean and Manuchar complete a successful trial pilot of CargoX's blockchain-based B/L solution.

In a recent test of CargoX's Smart B/L solution transferred the ownership of goods on a voyage from China to Peru using the blockchain-based system with a digital transfer of the B/L rather than the traditional paper method. Document ownership transfer was completely securely and within minutes rather than the days or weeks required if the documentation was sent via courier services.

"G2 Ocean consider Smart Contracts based on Distributed Ledgers or blockchain as a unique opportunity to digitalize and automate manual processes between its clients and subcontractors,” said Leif Arne Strømmen, vice president of innovation for G2 Ocean, the shipping company in the trial.

The trial comprised five separate pilot shipments with five B/Ls loading Xingang China on 5 April 2019, and discharging Callao, Peru, on the 26 May.

“The Bill of Lading is one of two priority areas in 2019 using blockchain technology. Based on these successful pilots, our next step will be to scale this up and offer it’s as a value-added service to our clients,” Strømmen said.

Read more: MSC and CMA CGM join TradeLens blockchain trade platform developed by Maersk and IBM

For trading and distribution company Manuchar with shipments onboard the successful trial represents something that it sees as having real value.

Bart Troubleyn, coo of Manuchar, said: “We focus on technologies that go beyond the hype and deliver real benefits in terms of speed, efficiency and the quality of service. That is exactly why this successful Smart B/L pilot is such an important next step in Manuchar’s digital transformation program: it provides real value.”

The blockchain-based B/L solution enables users to clearly state and transfer ownership, create Bills of Lading, and also attach other accompanying documentation in electronic format.

“We look forward to further develop and digitalize our joint manual processes. That will change the way trade is being done and at the same time secure trust and reduce operating costs,” said Strømmen.

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