As you know, I had previously reviewed CargoX’s blockchain based bill of lading explaining how it works..
This Smart B/L solution is now open for business as widely reported in the global shipping and logistics media.
CargoX is an independent supplier of public-blockchain-based solutions for logistics looking to transport the global supply chain industry into the 21st century.
As a first step to achieving this goal, they have worked on replacing the traditional paper-based Bill of Lading with a fast, safe, and reliable digital equivalent, namely the CargoX Smart B/L™ which is the industry’s first blockchain based smart bill of lading.
To achieve and develop this exciting new product for the supply chain industry, CargoX leveraged the security and decentralized operation of the open blockchain and smart contracts.
This CargoX Smart B/L™ is the first open, neutral blockchain platform in the shipping industry for real-world commercial use and this innovative solution was recently selected as the winning innovation at the IRU World Congress among 77 startups after a presentation in front of over 1000 attendees from more than 60 countries.
The platform supports several types of bills of lading namely :
- Negotiable Bill of Lading
- Straight Bill of Lading
- Sea Waybill of Lading
Let us see the definitions and functions of these bills of lading and how this platform will work in handling these types of bills of lading
1) Negotiable Bill of Lading
When a B/L issued in Original(s) and consigned “TO ORDER” or “TO ORDER OF SHIPPER” or “TO ORDER OF XYZ BANK” it is termed as “Negotiable B/L or Order Bill“..
2) Straight Bill of Lading
When a B/L is issued in Original(s) to a “named” consignee it is referred to as a “Straight B/L” and a Straight B/L is a NON-NEGOTIABLE & NON-TRANSFERABLE DOCUMENT..
Release of cargo at destination may be issued ONLY to the named consignee and ONLY upon surrender of at least 1 of the original bills issued..
3) Sea Waybill of Lading
When a shipping document is issued to a “named” consignee and it is not a document of title, it may be considered as a “Sea Waybill“.. Sea Waybill of Lading is a NON-NEGOTIABLE & NON-TRANSFERABLE DOCUMENT..
In the conventional method, when a bill of lading is issued in original, the destination agent of the carrier may issue release of cargo only after at least 1 of the issued originals are surrendered by the consignee, after checking the endorsements on the bill of lading..
Only NEGOTIABLE BILLS are allowed to be endorsed for further release to another company..
You can read the permutation and combination regarding endorsements here..
In the case of negotiable bills of lading, the CargoX platform offers customers similar flexible endorsement options towards any specifically named consignee, or made to order or to bearer, but digitally, as per below process..
Issuer (Carrier) ⇒ Shipper (Seller) ⇒ Consignee (could be To Order of Shipper or just To Order) ⇒ Next Endorsee ⇒ Next Endorsee ⇒ Final receiver
Once the freight and all charges relating to the carriage has been paid to the carrier, they will press the button to transfer the bill of lading (fulfilling the role of RECEIPT OF GOODS) to the shipper..
Once the document has been issued, the shipper has control of the document in the blockchain..
While others in the chain have the capability to view (this also can be controlled by access), only the shipper has the capability to send it further..
The shipper will wait for the payment of the goods before she transfers/endorses the bill of lading (fulfilling the role of the DOCUMENT OF TITLE to the goods) to the consignee..
At this stage, the control of the bill of lading moves from shipper to the consignee who is the only one who has control of this document in the blockchain..
Once the consignee is ready to take release of the goods or endorse it further to other party, they will transfer/endorse the document to the delivery agent (remember the agent of the carrier) at the destination..
As you know now, they are also a part of this blockchain.. So now the control moves from the consignee to the delivery agent..
CargoX platform also supports Master Bill of Lading (MBL)..
A Master Bill of Lading is issued by the Shipping Line (Carrier) to the NVOCC Operator, or Freight Forwarder..
In the MBL
- the Shipper will usually be the NVOCC operator, or their agent or the Freight Forwarder..
- the Consignee will usually be the destination agent or counterpart or office of the NVOCC operator, or the Freight Forwarder of the consignee
- the Notify could be the same as Consignee or any other party..
So the process of transfer will be similar to above explained..
CargoX platform also supports House Bill of Lading (HBL)..
A House Bill of Lading (HBL) is issued by an NVOCC operator, or a Freight Forwarder to their customers..
In the HBL
- the Shipper will usually be the actual shipper/exporter of the cargo (or as dictated by the Letter of Credit (LC))
- the Consignee will usually be the actual receiver/importer of the cargo (or as dictated by the L/C)
- the Notify could be the same as Consignee (or any other party as dictated by the L/C)
Therefore, the process of endorsements and transfer on the CargoX platform can be followed allowing users to transfer ownership of this very important document on a public blockchain network..
Some of the additional features offered by the platform are
- Secure from start : The transfer of the holder of the smart bill of lading document relies on public key infrastructure (PKI).. Only the actual owner of the private key can initiate the transfer to another party..
- Decentralized storage : CargoX uses the public blockchain to store the transfer history.. This ensures that the records of ownership remain forever available.. They cannot be changed unintentionally or maliciously for any reason..
- Instant transfer : While regular mail may take days to transfer the documents from one party to another, using the CargoX platform enables the user to transfer the documents in a matter of seconds..
- Complete transparency : It is always known who the current holder of the documents is and who had them previously..
- Different types of sea-freight documents : The platform can also accommodate for value-holding documents, telex release, express release and switch bills of lading and other types of documents.. All of this is done towards the goal of reducing the number of systems each specific party (shipper, issuer) needs to use.. CargoX aims to be a “one-stop-shop” for document transfers..
- Document preview : Any party in the workflow, which will receive the bill of lading (or similar transport documents), may preview documents before receiving them.. This helps reduce the cost and time, as the party can prepare in advance..
- Flexible endorsement types : Smart bill of ladings can be endorsed towards any specifically named consignee, or made to order or to bearer..
- Custom attachments : Any transfer between the parties can include any custom attachment, such as an invoice, receipt, warranty, and similar.. These may then be transferred forward or removed from the next batch completely..
- Certificate of origin transfer : The platform supports specific actions for transferring and exporting the original certificate of origin papers..
- Strong cryptographic signature : All documents transferred through the platform are guarded by a strong cryptographic signature.. Combination of blockchain, private key infrastructure and cryptographic algorithms ensures that documents uploaded to the platform are unchanged and cannot be modified by anyone..
- Flexible workflows : Documents can be transferred through the regular workflow (Issuer -> Shipper -> Consignee -> Release agent) or in any of the custom variants.. For example, the documents may be sent directly to the consignee or release agent..
- Returning the documents to the sender : Documents may be refused/returned to the sender.. The transfer may then be modified and resent, if required..
- Support for the letter of credit and escrow service workflow : Documents may be transferred to a bank for letter of credit processing or escrow service workflows.. Banks join the platform in the same manner as other parties and guarantee the payment of goods..
- Switch bill of lading support : Bill of ladings can be transferred unlimited number times between different parties / consignees.. Each party has the ability to “clear the document history” — blur the previous transfer details.. This prevents forwarding parties from seeing the previous path of the document..
- Amendment support : The issuer of the document may amend (change) the bill of lading document by reissuing it under the same number.. This is possible only if he is the current holder of said document.. Once the document is transferred, no more changes are possible..
- Multi-user support : Platform enables different users to have different permissions.. This enables support for complex workflows and use-case scenarios from micro-companies to full-scale corporate systems..
- Integration friendly : All platform APIs (application programming interfaces) are exposed as REST interfaces, which enables easy integration into existing company’s systems..
- Browser-only : No installation is required to use the Smart B/L solution.. Users simply need to log into the website to use the service..
- Created or uploaded bill of ladings : If companies already have an existing system which creates bill of lading documents, they may easily be imported into the Smart B/L platform.. For smaller companies, however, Smart B/L offers an option to create the bill of lading document in-app.. No 3rd-party tools are necessary..
Whether you are a Shipping Agent, NVOCC, Freight Forwarder, Exporter, Importer, Forwarder’s alliance member, Freight network member, 1PL-5PL, anyone can now join and start using the CargoX Smart B/L™ solution..
Numerous companies around the globe are already using the solution..
Swiss global logistics specialist Fracht AG, Sprint International Express, the full-service 3rd party logistics provider, freight forwarder networks and platforms such as Globalink, Global Value Network, Ocean X, and Freightalia.
Tech consultancy companies such as DBA Group from Italy and Actual Group from Slovenia, and regional logistics companies TPG Logistics, Milšped Group, Europacific, and others. Moreover, MakerDAO, a leading global blockchain solution provider, is one of CargoX’s main technology partners.
So what do you think of the usefulness of this app..?? Let’s take a quick poll..
It may help my business.. I would like to learn more, please contact me
The world of technology and digitalization is progressing quite rapidly and the shipping and freight industry where things have been done the same way for centuries, is slowly starting to catch up with the rest of the industries..
With such rapid developments in the field of digitalisation in shipping and freight, there are bound to be leaders and followers.. With their Smart B/L app now open for business, CargoX has chosen to be the leaders in this area..
This may just be the catalyst or the push that the industry needed to get going as this is now a tangible reality..