Pacific International Lines (PIL) is collaborating with IBM Singapore in another blockchain trial to design and create an electronic bill of lading which will “significantly enhance” the documentation process in supply chain management.
The PIL-IBM collaboration was supported by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs (National Trade Platform), and Bank of China Limited Singapore Branch.
A statement explained that traditionally, a bill of lading is a physical document which banks rely on to provide trade financing. The bill of lading is usually mailed to various parties leaving it “open to fraud, loss of the original document, and document handling costs resulting in much inefficiency across the supply chain”.
To improve the process, PIL and IBM have proposed using an electronic bill of lading (e-BL) to streamline and replicate the paper trail online on a blockchain ledger created by IBM.
The e-BL will do away with the hard copy paper trail, cut unnecessary handling costs and the possibility of fraud.
PIL executive director Lisa Teo said “This is a big step forward for PIL. As an international shipping company, we believe we have a role to play in enhancing efficiencies within the intermodal transport logistics ecosystem. Working with a complex logistic network comprising ports and terminals, agencies, government entities, banks and shippers; systematic supply chain management is increasingly important to lower costs through the chain by cutting unnecessary expense, movements and handling.
“…The use of blockchain technology to allow for the direct exchange of documents and information via the decentralised network to boost transparency, eliminate disputes, forgeries and unnecessary risks will be key for this industry to progress.”
The team plans to extend the e-BL to shadow an end-to-end shipment in real-time. PIL said this would be in line with its ultimate goal of creating an intermodal transport logistics ecosystem which incorporates blockchain.