Blockchain to Push Paper Bill of Lading into Retirement

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(Image Courtesy: CargoX)

In today’s digital world, one would think the paper Bill of Lading was an anachronism. A recent test of the CargoX Smart B/L™ solution, done by G2 Ocean and Manuchar NV, show it is possible to retire the paper B/L.

“Paper Bills of Lading are already considered a historic artifact. The Smart B/L™ solution gives both us and our clients the power of a modern, reliable, and efficient tool. It will bring cost optimization and improved data security into their processes. The document transaction reliability in this system is undisputable,” said Rune Birkeland, CEO at G2 Ocean.

The two companies concluded their test of the blockchain-based B/L system this April. During the test, they transferred ownership of goods with shipments traveling from China to Peru.

The CargoX Smart B/L™ is a solution for quick and cost-effective digital transfer of Bills of Lading issued by any cargo shipper worldwide. The system completes the document ownership transfer securely and reliably within minutes. That stands as opposed to the days or weeks it takes to send a document via regular courier services.

This new approach prevents delays and business damage or loss, demurrage and other costs. And it provides a level of safety and reliability never seen before in the business world.

In total we have completed five separate pilot shipments, with five Smart Bills of Lading. They departed the port of loading Xingang China on the 5th of April 2019, and reached the port of discharge, Callao, Peru, on the 26th of May 2019. The distance between ports is 9,504 nautical miles. The importer received the Smart B/ Ls after a couple of minutes.

“G2 Ocean consider Smart Contracts based on Distributed Ledgers or blockchain as a unique opportunity to digitalize and automate manual processes between its clients and subcontractors. The Bill of Lading is one of two priority areas in 2019 using blockchain technology. Based on these successful pilots, our next step will be to scale this up and offer it’s as a value-added service to our clients,” said Leif Arne Strømmen, Vice President of Innovation G2 Ocean.

“The implementation of new technologies is essential to establish and maintain our leading position in terms of cost-efficient sourcing & supply chain solutions for our customers. We focus on technologies that go beyond the hype and deliver real benefits in terms of speed, efficiency and the quality of service. That is exactly why this successful Smart B/L pilot is such an important next step in Manuchar’s digital transformation program: it provides real value. We thank G2 Ocean and CargoX for the excellent collaboration in achieving this success,”  states Bart Troubleyn, COO of Manuchar.

The solution is powered by the Blockchain Document Transaction System (BDTS) technology. Compared to classic IT systems, the CargoX Smart B/L™ enables users to clearly state and transfer ownership, create Bills of Lading, and also attach other accompanying documentation in electronic format. Documents can be transacted among parties to a specific process in a way similar to a banking transaction. They can also be amended or annulled if needed too.

“G2 Ocean and Manuchar are among the most advanced companies in cargo shipping industry. They have recognized the potential of using tools of the future today – to secure trust, digitalize paper document processing, and reduce operating costs. All of this is obtained while investing minimally into the solution’s adoption,” said Stefan Kukman, CEO and founder of CargoX.

“We will thank Manuchar for their open mind and eagerness to test out this new technology. We look forward to further develop and digitalize our joint manual processes. That will change the way trade is being done and at the same time secure trust and reduce operating costs,” said Leif Arne Strømmen, of G2 Ocean.

Facts: Norway based G2 Ocean is a joint venture of two of the world’s leading breakbulk and bulk shipping companies: Gearbulk and Grieg Star. They operate the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide. In addition, G2 Ocean operate a substantial fleet of conventional bulk carriers. They have a total of 130 vessels and 13 offices on six continents. The vessels are tailor-made for breakbulk cargoes like forestry products, steel and project cargoes of high value (wind turbines and similar). Advanced systems make shipping with G2 Ocean easy. The passion and expertise of their employees provide reliable, efficient, flexible, high-quality, and innovative services.

Manuchar NV is a leading trading & distribution company with focus on emerging markets. Its trading activities cover Chemicals, Steel, Metals, Plastics, Paper, Pharmaceuticals, Wood, Cement and Spare Parts.  The network of more than 50 affiliates in 140 locations makes Manuchar a recognized leader in providing end-toend supply chain logistics and distribution of chemicals.

The excellent reputation and consistent growth have been gained by providing reliable and cost-effective sourcing & supply chain solutions for the customers. Manuchar “keeps its customer’s factories running at all times” by locating the warehouses close to them – providing more than 500,000 m2 accumulated warehouse space.

Sea News Feature, May 30