In a move to drive digitalization and efficiency in international trade, the FIT Alliance, comprised of BIMCO, DCSA, FIATA, ICC, and Swift, has unveiled the “Declaration of the electronic Bill of Lading.” The initiative aims to promote the adoption of electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs) to enhance the reliability, sustainability, security, and efficiency of global trade.
Currently, the international shipping industry relies heavily on paper-based shipping documents, including bills of lading, resulting in slower transactions, higher administrative costs, and increased fraud risks. Despite the clear advantages of eBLs, only 2.1% of bills of lading and waybills in the container trade were electronic in 2022.
The FIT Alliance believes that widespread adoption of a standardized eBL can bring about significant benefits, including faster transactions, reduced costs, enhanced security through digital authentication, and a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to trade.
A McKinsey study estimates that achieving 100% eBL adoption in the container sector alone could unlock $30-40 billion in global trade growth while saving thousands of trees and reducing carbon emissions significantly.
By signing the FIT Alliance eBL Declaration, stakeholders in international trade signal their readiness for change and their commitment to collaborating in advancing digitalization within their industries. The FIT Alliance, formed in 2022, aims to standardize the digitalization of international trade.
Niels Nuyens, Head of Digital Trade at DCSA, expressed enthusiasm about the agreement, emphasizing its potential to accelerate trade digitalization for diverse stakeholders, from customers to government regulators and shipping services. He sees this agreement as a crucial milestone in the journey toward standardizing container shipping documentation.
The FIT Alliance’s “Declaration of the electronic Bill of Lading” represents a significant step toward a more efficient, secure, and sustainable future for international trade, bringing benefits to all involved parties and enhancing supply chain resilience.