Popular Tech heavyweight, IBM, has recently signed a partnership deal with Pacific International Lines (PIL) in a bid to digitalize one of the most crucial documents in shipping — the Bill of Lading (BIL).
IBM would be joining the biggest shipping company in Singapore to create a digitalized version of the Bill of Lading, also called the electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL), to be stored on the blockchain.
The Bill of Lading which is expected to be handled by a number of parties is important in international trade, given it not only serves as evidence of ownership of cargo, and a receipt for shipment of carriages, but the fact that banks and financial institutions depend on the BIL in the provision of trade financing.
Finding Solutions Via the Blockchain
The more an important document is handled by increasing number of parties, the more it is susceptible fraud and accidental loss. Given, information stored on a regular cloud is not also as secure, the blockchain seems the perfect solution.
The blockchain ledger developed by IBM has been designed to handle necessary documents with no incurred costs or the possibility of fraud. Implementation of the e-BL on the blockchain would also increase the speed at which information can be passed, providing instant access to necessary information.
PIL’s Executive Director, Lisa Teo, stated: “Traditionally, information flow is predominantly handled via manual processes, and the supply chain is slowed down when there are many points of communication within its framework.”
Enunciating more on the benefits, Teo also explained how the blockchain encourages transparency and reduces the possibility of forgery.
“The use of blockchain technology to allow for the direct exchange of documents and information via the decentralized network to boost transparency, eliminate disputes forgeries and unnecessary risks will be key for this industry to progress.”
The new development buttresses the growing expansion of the blockchain technology into different fields. As a matter of fact, PIL would not be the first shipping line collaborating with giant IBM, as a similar heavyweight, Maersk Line (the world’s biggest ocean container shipper) recently partnered with IBM to implement the similar HyperLedger Fabric blockchain framework across its network of operations.