How The eBL is Shaping The Future of Shipping


For centuries, the maritime industry has relied on paper documentation to track and process shipments. Given the expanse of global supply chains, this means that thousands of pieces of paper change hands every day – a time-consuming, costly, and resource-intensive process that is prone to fraud, reports Ship Technology.


To increase efficiency, several initiatives aimed at accelerating digitalization within the sector have been introduced over recent years.

Notably, in 2023, the Future of International Trade (FIT) Alliance – founded by DCSA, BIMCO, FIATA, ICC, and SWIFT – launched the electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) Declaration. Meanwhile, DCSA’s nine-member carriers have signed a commitment to 100% eBL by 2030.

Progress has been strong to date, with a growing number of stakeholders coming forward to pledge their support to move from paper to eBL. Yet with global trade expected to triple by 2050, the shipping sector will need to adapt faster to keep up with growth – and several hurdles must still be overcome.

EBLs: efficiency, security, and transparency 

As trade volumes continue to increase, ensuring the supply chain continues to operate efficiently will become increasingly significant. By reducing the amount of time spent manually verifying documents, streamlining processing and transfer times, and reducing the amount of paper in circulation, switching away from paper-based bills of lading will expedite the movement of goods, reduce waiting times, and greatly lower risks and costs.

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Source: Ship Technology