News Supply chain

Blockchain electronic bills of lading gets green light from shippers

bulk carrier shipping

G2 Ocean and Manuchar NV have successfully finished a trial of CargoX’s blockchain-based Smart Bills of Lading (B/L). G2 Ocean, the joint venture of two bulk and breakbulk (non-containerised) shippers  Gearbulk and Grieg Star, tested the technology with Manuchar, an emerging market-focused trading and distribution company. The experiment involved five separate shipments from Peru to China.

According to the two companies, the test was so successful that they declared the paper B/L to be an ‘anachronism’ making ‘it possible to retire [them]’. Indeed, while paper B/L sent using couriers take days or weeks to complete document ownership transfer, CargoX’s solution took a matter of minutes. This saved time reduces the cost of delays and the potential for demurrages – charges that are paid to ship-owners for delays in loading/unloading.

The blockchain solution is also more secure and transparent. Stakeholders throughout the process can easily check the B/Ls, and it is harder to forge or edit an electronic document than a paper one.

Rune Birkeland, CEO at G2 Ocean, explains further: “The Smart B/L™ solution gives both us and our clients the power of a modern, reliable, and efficient tool. It will bring cost optimization and improved data security into their processes. The document transaction reliability in this system is undisputable.”

The success of the pilots also calls for further development. Leif Arne Strømmen, Vice President of Innovation G2 Ocean, discloses the plan is “to scale this up and offer it as a value-added service to our clients.”

Manuchar also sees the value of this technology: “The implementation of new technologies is essential to establish and maintain our leading position in terms of cost-efficient sourcing & supply chain solutions for our customers,” says Bart Troubleyn, COO of Manuchar.

“We focus on technologies that go beyond the hype and deliver real benefits in terms of speed, efficiency and the quality of service. That is exactly why this successful Smart B/L pilot is such an important next step in Manuchar’s digital transformation program: it provides real value.”

For CargoX, this is a tremendous success. They completed an ICO last year and their token, CXO, has a market capitalization of $1.5 million.

“G2 Ocean and Manuchar are among the most advanced companies in cargo shipping industry,” said Stefan Kukman, CEO and founder of CargoX. “They have recognized the potential of using tools of the future today – to secure trust, digitalize paper document processing, and reduce operating costs. All of this is obtained while investing minimally into the solution’s adoption.”

Digitizing paper bills of lading is the focus on numerous blockchain projects. Israeli-based Wave was perhaps the first company to try it, purely focusing on Bills of Lading. Deliver is a blockchain initiative between the Port of Rotterdam, ABN Amro and Samsung SDS. It aims to digitize shipping documentation, including Bills of Lading.

Three months ago, the Singapore government unveiled an electronic Bills of Lading project. It’s unclear whether this is separate to another project by Singapore based Pacific International Lines which has some of the same participants and IBM as the technology partner. Accenture, APL shipping and freight forwarder Kuehne + Nagel are also working on digitizing shipping documentation as is the IBM / Maersk TradeLens project.