MSC publishes guide to aid in transition to electronic Bills of Lading

Container shipping giant MSC has published a new guide for the maritime industry to assist organisations looking to transition from the use of paper-based Bills of Lading to their electronic equivalent (eBL).

The publication, titled How to Navigate the Transition from Paper Bill of Lading (BL) to eBL is available for download as a PDF, and was authored by MSC’s own Lutercia Porto, Digital and Innovation Projects Director, Patrick Racioppi, Business Transformation Director, and André Simha, Global Chief Digital and Innovation Officer.

The guide discusses the differences between the paper and electronic versions of BL documents, as well as the key advantages offered through adoption of the digital alternative.

The paper also notes three of the major challenges still remaining in progressing adoption across the industry – namely interoperability, multi-stakeholder support, and the need to digitalise large numbers of documents – which will need to be overcome for the potential efficiency gains of the switch to digital to be enjoyed by all stakeholders.

MSC is one of the founder members of the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) along with the majority of the world’s biggest container lines, who have collectively announced plans aiming for 100% adoption of eBLs in their operations by 2030.

“Digitalising global trade documentation involves many stakeholders across the globe, each with their own requirements, restrictions, and ways of operating. Collaboration is key to work through these challenges, and it is inspiring to see the increasing support and commitment toward 100% eBL adoption by 2030,” the MSC guide notes.

“The foundations we lay, and the learnings we pick up along the way, will forge the path for the future phases of digital documentation. Most importantly, as we progress through the inevitable challenges, we must remember that this isn’t really about documents — it’s about creating a global container shipping industry that can support the demands of the modern world.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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