American Shipper



   APL has introduced a system to produce secure encrypted bills of lading.

   The carrier has worked with the technology firm Electronics For Imaging on the encrypted shipping document, a development that it says is an industry first.

   The secure process will enable exporters to transmit encrypted negotiable bills of lading via the Internet, automatically and safely, directly to multiple third-party providers, such as forwarders and consignees, and to banks.

   APL has offered remote printing capabilities for bills of lading since 1996, but it said that the new process now allows secure encrypted bills of lading to be transmitted right through to the bank. The encrypted B/Ls are also negotiable.

   It is known that Internet remote-printing B/Ls were not always accepted by banks.

   “This capability, known as E-BL Print, triggers speedier documentation and financial settlements,” said Cindy Stoddard, APL’s chief information officer. APL said that the encrypted B/L will take days out of the traditional document preparation, review and settlement process, allowing the exporter to get paid faster.

   Under the encrypted system, all parties specified in the customer’s personalized profile will receive secure shipping documents electronically.

   The exporter will retain complete control over who can print the document and how many copies can be viewed or printed.

   APL believes that this will address customers’ concerns over protecting confidential information in e-commerce.

   Electronics For Imaging, a California-based company, developed the software for APL.

   “Despite the current economic climate, we continue to invest in information technology because customers are more eager than ever to reduce the time, cost and paperwork associated with their business processes,” said Stoddard.

   APL said that DuPont China Ltd., the Hong Kong office of DuPont, will use the encrypted B/Ls for direct shipments from the U.S. and for triangular trade shipments via Hong Kong.

   APL was also the first shipping line to introduce the non-encrypted Internet B/L, five years ago.