The Future International Trade Alliance (The FIT Alliance) has launched a declaration on digital shipping, asking for new signatories to progress the adoption of industry-wide electronic bills of lading (eBLs).
The organisation – made up of shipowners’ association BIMCO, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the international payment network SWIFT – is aiming for a ‘unified drive towards digitalisation’, which includes 100 per cent adoption of an eBL by 2030. It believes this will make international trade ‘more efficient, reliable, sustainable, and secure’.
The DCSA said in a release: ‘We continue to work with stakeholders to develop standards for a universal and interoperable electronic Bill of Lading and address the technical and legal obstacles that stand in the way of widescale adoption. With the industry now firmly behind the much-needed shift to digitalisation, DCSA looks forward to furthering our mission with our partners.’
The UK’s Electronic Trade Documents Bill was given royal assent in July. This ensures that electronic trade documents such as eBLs have the same legal status as the equivalent paper document.
‘As the UK is the preferred legal jurisdiction for the majority of the Bills of Lading DCSA members issue, the assent paves the way for billions of dollars in savings for international trade, a better customer experience in shipping and more sustainable transport,’ said the DCSA.