Last year, I asked a question “Electronic bill of lading – are you and your country ready for it..??”..
This question could not be more relevant TODAY, considering the current circumstances, and the impact COVID-19 on the shipping and freight industry..
An electronic paperless bill of lading is a bill of lading issued electronically instead of being printed on paper and issued physically to the customer as a hard copy..
Whether using an electronic paperless bill of lading issued on the back of a Blockchain based platform or a Bolero based platform, these electronic bill of lading options are said to fulfill the functions in the same manner as a traditional paper bill of lading..
Many believe that the electronic bill of lading will be a game changer in the shipping industry with faster, efficient transactions, reduction in costs with greater security and less risk..
However, there were concerns on the issue of safety, security and acceptability relating to the transmission and receipt of electronic paperless bill of lading and in several cases it was required to check whether the carrier and country were ready for electronic paperless bill of lading..
Currently, we are in a unique moment in history where as per reports, COVID-19 has affected all countries around the world.. And this my friends is a time when almost all shipping lines and customers would be wishing that they had access to Electronic Paperless Bills of Lading..
In today’s global trade, handling of container transport and supply chain is not that easy and comes with a plethora of problems. Lack of visibility is one of the main problems that customers face.
Lack of visibility of a shipping container’s location and its condition during a trip may lead not only to unexpected delays but also to possible theft and deterioration of goods especially if these problems are noticed far too late.
In many situations, it is also difficult to ascertain and be assured that the goods have traveled in the optimal condition especially with perishable cargo or hazardous cargo shipments.
Without visibility, shippers cannot expect the fastest, safest and importantly, the most ecological routes for their shipments.
Time saving and product quality are key factors in a well functioning supply chain, and more and more companies are looking to choose solutions that provides visibility of their shipments.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched some digital initiatives aimed at creating a collaborative cross-industry effort to enable the standardisation of digital trade..
The first one called The ICC Digital Trade Standards Initiative (DSI), will build on work done by various like minded initiatives, many of which aim to digitise trade, notably through the development of open trade and technology standards to promote interoperability.
In the other initiative, the ICC is partnering with various government, business and other stakeholders to create digital solutions that will advance economic prosperity for all.
In line with its Declaration for the Next Century of Global Business, the ICC is committed to maximising the benefits of the digital economy through establishing key partnerships to unify, simplify, and transform trade processes for all.
As we have seen and read, the digital advances in the shipping and freight industry has given rise to the “digital shipping line“ with several shipping lines providing several digital services to customers either on their own or through digital alliances or associations such as TradeLens and Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA)..
In line with this, Evergreen Line became the latest shipping line to provide digital services to its clients, fulfilling its mission to provide the most optimized service to its customers..
The TradeLens Agreement which “authorizes the parties to cooperate with respect to the provision of data to a blockchain-enabled, global trade digitized solution that will enable shippers, authorities and other stakeholders to exchange information on supply chain events and documents” is seemingly cleared to go live as it goes unchallenged within the timeframe given by FMC..
TradeLens is a digital alliance among container shipping lines started by the teaming up of Maersk and IBM to offer customers digital freight solutions..
Touted as an open and neutral industry platform underpinned by Blockchain technology, Tradelens is now supported by major industry players such as Maersk, Zim Lines, PIL, CMA CGM, MSC, Hapag Lloyd and ONE..
This platform received a major boost on the 23rd of December 2019 when The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) published “The TradeLens Agreement”..
SOLAS VGM – probably a term which may have slipped many people’s minds as it seems to have successfully integrated itself into the mainstream container shipping process since its mandatory implementation in July 2016.. Now it seems to be back, but in a good way though..
Weigh the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment like a weighbridge to get the VGM
Weigh the cargo, dunnage, lashing material and add the tare weight of the container to get the VGM
Although there has not been any real comments or incidents relating to the misdeclaration of weights after the implementation of the SOLAS VGM regulation in 2016, it has been reported that shipping industry has been struggling with Method 1, as physically weighing every shipping container requires significant efforts and costly, space-consuming scales..
Trade as we know it (or don’t know it) has been around for centuries in various forms across various time-lines..
Starting from trade on the Silk roads around 1st century BC, through the Spice Routes between the 7th and 15th centuries to the current age of globalisation, trade has come a long way indeed..
While the business of trade itself hasn’t changed from the basic concept of buying and selling, the methodology of trade and trade patterns have changed drastically especially over the last few decades..
Benchmarking – is a business tool used by companies to evaluate and compare the current position and standing of the company against similar companies and organisations in the same business space in the market..
The point of benchmarking is to identify opportunities for improvement of your products and services by comparing your company’s performance, processes, costs against a bigger and better market competitor..
This could mean tweaking your company’s products/services to match the competitor’s offering in the market or by improving your scope of services..
Freight benchmarking is a benchmarking tool in the shipping and freight industry used by various role players in the industry such as BCOs, freight forwarders and shipping lines..