Today Saudi Aramco-controlled chemicals firm SABIC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for paperless trade with the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) and three of its members, COSCO Shipping, Hutchison Ports and PSA ports.
SABIC, with a market capitalization of $73 billion, provides chemicals to various industries ranging from construction to agriculture.
GSBN’s blockchain trade network supports electronic bills of ladings (eBLs), and structured eBL data will also be used by SABIC for GSBN’s cargo release application. The deal covers SABIC cargo carried by COSCO Shipping to Hutchison and PSA ports in Asia.
COSCO Shipping used eBLs on the GSBN network in January for the first time. GSBN sees its role as the glue to connect different parties. To that end, rather than offering its own eBL solution, it is integrating with third party providers. In the COSCO shipping case, that is the IQAX eBL solution.
To date, the global adoption of eBLs has been weak at around 1.5% of bills of lading, despite COVID and a desire for paperless trade. One of the issues is the proliferation of solutions.
The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is looking to ensure interoperability between various eBL providers. It also recently persuaded many of the world’s largest shipping carriers to commit to adopting eBLs, with a target of 50% within five years and 100% in ten years.
Apart from the (DCSA), the shift to eBLs has also been promoted by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).