Maritime blockchain data exchange platform Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ZAN, a blockchain business established by Ant Group Digital Technologies of China, to explore methods for tokenising electronic Bills of Lading (eBL).
With 99% of global trade still conducted using paper documents, more than 45 million physical Bills of Lading are couriered around the world every year. However, there are a number of industry initiatives currently underway to encourage the use of digital alternatives to streamline shipping processes.
The enactment of new legislation in jurisdictions like Singapore and the UK has also helped to accelerate adoption of electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs), with nine of the world’s largest shipping lines committing to full adoption by 2030.
GSBN and ZAN wish to explore a further extension of the eBL infrastructure through the potential introduction of tokenised eBLs using blockchain technologies, creating a new digital asset class that could support the securitisation of the world’s trade flows and create new options in trade financing.
“We are in the right place at the right time. The move towards eBL is already a major leap for the industry but, together with tokenisation, we can go one step further,” said Bertrand Chen, CEO at GSBN.
“Together with ZAN, we will explore tokenising the rights to these shipments with the aim of unlocking an entirely new asset class. From here, we can create new securitisation opportunities to bridge the world’s trade finance gap and create the foundations for novel business models.”