Use of Electronic Bills of Lading

A number of major dry cargo charterers began to invite owners to incorporate clauses into time charters in order to permit the use of electronic bills of lading instead of their paper equivalent.

2014.03.12 - Use of Electronic Bills of Lading

The International Group of P&I Clubs has endorsed so far two electronic bill of lading solution providers, essDOCS and Bolero. This means that if an owner is to use one of these systems, their P&I cover remains the same with that of a paper bill of lading.

Both systems work by providing a combination of a rulebook that creates a legal framework and technology that replicates the functions of a traditional paper bill of lading. Neither essDOCS nor Bolero charges ship owners to register as users – transaction charges are borne by the charterers. For users of these systems the experience is not radically different to online banking, which has become commonplace in business.

The industry now has the chance to help to reduce fraud, speed up the documentation process and reduce reliance by ship owners on letters of indemnity given in exchange for delivery of cargo without presentation of the original bills of lading.

At a recent meeting in London, several major dry cargo charterers met with representatives of ship owners, P&I Clubs and electronic bill of lading solution providers to develop an eBill charter party clause. The new clause will be considered by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee at its meeting in Dubai at the end of April and, if approved, will be published in May.

Source: BIMCO

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