Document transfer solutions provider CargoX says that by utilizing blockchain technology, it recently concluded an electronic bill of lading (eBOL) transfer with a competing provider, edoxOnline, within six minutes, a process that traditionally takes hours or even days.
The potential benefit of that streamlining is highlighted by a recent McKinsey study showing that 40% of containerized trade still relies on the transfer of paper record copies with up to 50 sheets of paper from up to 30 different parties. Sending all of this information using blockchain-powered eBOLs could reduce direct costs by $6.5 billion and open up potentially $40 billion in new global trade.
However, a challenge to the deployment of eBOLs technology has been its interoperability — the ability for systems to exchange this information with systems outside their own network.
This brought CargoX and edoxOnline together to prove the concept and showcase that currently available technology can make blockchain tools interoperable and bring savings to ocean shipping.
“We are proud to be part of this first-in-history interoperability launch between eBOL platforms,” said CargoX founder and CEO Stefan Kukman. “Distributed global computing solutions have emerged as an alternative to centralized systems. It is only logical that eBOL platforms provide interoperability between them to avoid centralization and market manipulation. We support standards-driven interoperability, and we firmly believe this is good for all economic operators and governmental entities participating in global trade.”
Moreover, the eBOL for global trade is still very popular among global shippers. Since 2018, CargoX has processed over 3.4 million electronic trade documents within its system, which currently has more than 100,000 registered users.
Another concern with eBOL implementation is the data and blockchain standards that would need to be utilized to continue to grow interoperability between global trade solutions.
In 2019, the nonprofit Digital Container Shipping Association was formed by container shipping companies to create the technical standards needed to support the future interoperability of document exchange, trade finance and freight rating.
CargoX and edoxOnline used these standards for their eBOL proof of concept as well.
“We are proud to lead this eB/L initiative of a distributed global eB/L solution built using standards published by DCSA,” said Kukman. “We support standards-driven interoperability, and we firmly believe this is good for all economic operators and governmental entities participating in global trade.”