BIMCO begins work on standard for bulk sector electronic bills of lading

BIMCO has teamed up with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other industry stakeholders in a bid to develop an international standard for electronic bills of lading (eBL) for the dry and liquid bulk sectors.

The shipowner organisation aims to work with other industry players to help identify and overcome the obstacles preventing a more widescale adoption of eBLs and encourage their acceptance by regulators, banks, carriers and insurers, to support the wider digitalisation of maritime trade.

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

“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.”

BIMCO’s eBL standard will be aligned with the UN/CEFACT MultiModal Reference Data Model to ensure seamless eBL transactions across international borders, and will build on the work of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) which published its own standards for the liner industry in December 2020.

“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,” said 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 BIMCO’s work will help unlock the digitisation of another critical instrument.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

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