June 7, 2021 Maritime Safety News

As part of a major initiative to accelerate digitalisation in the shipping industry, BIMCO has teamed up with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other key stakeholders to help identify and overcome obstacles preventing a more widescale adoption of electronic bills of lading.

“Establishing a globally accepted standard for electronic bills of lading is a critically important step for the successful digital transformation of our industry,” says Grant Hunter, Head of Contracts and Clauses at BIMCO, who is leading the project for the organisation.

BIMCO is to play a key role in this process by developing a global electronic bill of lading (eBL) standard for the dry and liquid bulk sectors and encouraging its acceptance and adoption by regulators, banks, carriers and insurers.

“BIMCO is widely known to regulators, banks and insurers for its standardised paper bills of lading such as CONGENBILL and CONLINEBILL. We want to take that same harmonised approach to facilitating trade by developing an eBL standard,” he says.

Global trade needs standards

“The ICC is looking forward to working with BIMCO on its ambitious goal of delivering an electronic bill of lading standard for dry and wet bulk shipping to the world,” says Oswald Kuyler, Managing Director of the Digital Trades Standards Initiative (DSI) at the ICC.

“Being at the forefront of global developments in shipping BIMCO is perfectly placed to undertake this ambitious task. Global trade needs standards to digitise trade at scale and BIMCOs work will help unlock the digitisation of another critical instrument,” he says.

BIMCO’s electronic bill of lading standard will be fully aligned with the UN/CEFACT MultiModal Reference Data Model to ensure seamless and transparent eBL transactions across international borders. The organisation plans to develop its eBL standard with the assistance of, among others, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) who published their own standards for the liner industry in December 2020.