Container shipping company ZIM has moved to the operational phase of its blockchain-based project to introduce fully paperless Bills of Lading, having spent more than a year piloting the platform it first announced in November 2017.
ZIM says that its exploratory transactions indicated that blockchain technology can effectively be used to replace paper, but could also help to improve current activities which rely on e-mail, fax and other legacy tools.
In two recent transactions, original Bills of Lading were transferred to the receiver in less than two hours from the vessel’s departure, the company said, a process that can ordinarily take days or weeks.
All documentation transfer processes, including endorsements and ownership transfers, were performed over the blockchain-based platform. One consignment was shipped from Vietnam to the US East Coast, and a shipment of 11 High-Cube special containers were loaded in Slovenia and shipped to Israel.
Having now completed dozens of shipments with multiple freight forwarders and Beneficial Cargo Owners, ZIM says it is ready to begin the next phase of the project by allowing all of its customers on selected trades to move to electronic Bills of Lading, starting with its Asia-South Africa and North America-Mediterranean routes in Q1 2019.
“Having gained considerable experience with this revolutionary technology, we are now moving forward. It’s part of our commitment to maximise digitisation, and at the same time enhance our customer service levels and nurturing customer relations,” said Eyal Ben-Amram, ZIM CIO.