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MSC today started to accept electronic bills of lading (eB/Ls) submitted via Wave’s blockchain platform.
Wave BL is a blockchain-based system that uses distributed ledger technology to ensure that all parties involved in a cargo shipment booking can issue, transfer, endorse and manage documents through a secure, decentralised network.
Users can issue all originals, negotiable or non-negotiable, and exchange them via direct, encrypted, peer-to-peer transmission, and are also able to amend documents.
Wave BL’s communication protocol has, additionally, been approved by the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs.
“MSC has chosen Wave BL because it is the only solution that mirrors the traditional paper-based process that the shipping and cargo transport industry is used to,” said André Simha, global chief digital & information officer at MSC (pictured above).
“It provides a digital alternative to all the possibilities available with traditional print documents, just much faster and more secure,” he added.
The platform has already been used extensively by Israeli carrier Zim, which operates a number of deepsea services in conjunction with MSC and its 2M partner, Maersk. Recently Zim invested in some $8m in Wave through a series B fundraising round.
Mr Simha explained that the adoption of an eB/L was a crucial part of the shipping industry’s digitisation efforts.
“Traditionally, the shipping industry has relied quite heavily on paper documents. And among these, the B/L is the most important transport document in international trade.
“While there have been attempts to create an eB/L solution in the past, we are now in a position to introduce a solution that can pave the way to mass eB/L adoption, which will mean significant savings for the shipping industry,” he said.
According to the Digital Container Shipping Association, if 50% of all B/Ls were issued electronically, the industry could potentially save more than $4bn per year, as well as allowing for faster document transfers “which, in turn, lead to a shorter payment cycle, and electronic processes are far less susceptible to forgery, fraud, loss or human error”.
Gadi Rushin, WAVE BL CEO and co-founder, said: “Our goal from the start has been to change the way the world trades by digitising document workflows, while ensuring the highest legal, security and privacy standards.
“MSC is helping to create a new trade norm that will ultimately affect the rest of the market and save the trade industry billions of dollars,” he added.