ContainersMiddle EastOperationsTech

ZIM readies the end of paper bills of ladings

Israeli containerline continues to build its credentials in the world of blockchain moving ever closer to bidding farewell to the centuries old paper bill of lading.

Over the last year, following ZIM’s November 2017 announcement regarding the first-ever pilot of paperless bills-of-lading based on blockchain technology, ZIM and selected customers have been testing the new platform as a solution for trade activities on multiple shipping lanes.

In two recent transactions, original bill of ladings were transferred to the receiver within under two hours from the vessel’s departure, a process that ordinarily takes days or even weeks. All documentation processes, including endorsements and ownership transfers were performed over the blockchain-based platform. One consignment was shipped from Vietnam to the US east coast, and a shipment of 11 high-cube special containers were loaded in Koper and shipped to Haifa.

After successfully completing dozens of shipments with multiple freight forwarders and BCOs, ZIM is poised to begin the next phase by opening the opportunity to move to e-bills of ladings to all ZIM customers in selected trades. In the first quarter of 2019, ZIM plans to focus on the Asia-South Africa and North America-Mediterranean trades. These trades were chosen due to their diverse activities and involved players.

“Digitizing the shipping documentation process will have a tremendous effect of reducing the time, complexity and costs for all parties involved,” ZIM stated in a release yesterday.

Eyal Ben-Amram, ZIM CIO, commented: “Having gained considerable experience with this revolutionary technology, we are now moving forward. It’s part of our commitment to maximise digitisation, and at the same time enhance our customer service levels and nurturing customer relations.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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