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- Thomas Bagge
An electronic bill of lading sounds like such a reasonable and practical idea that it's difficult to understand why there has been so little adoption of them. The world has dispensed with paper versions of documents in dozens of high-values, high-importance scenarios, including bidding on houses. Yet eBLs account for only a tiny percentage of overall bills of lading each year. The barriers to adoption actually are numerous: no single eBL product; diverse pilots involving different container lines; unique banking regulations in each country touching international shipments; and a lack of priority among shippers to force service providers to change. In 2022, however, some strides were made that might end up being seen as a true fork in the road. The Digital Container Shipping Association convened numerous eBL software vendors in a pilot that seeks to create interoperability among the various products. This is key because shippers don't want to be forced into several eBL formats depending on the shipping lines they use. And progress has come in terms of making banks more comfortable with the creation and transfer of eBLs. This session will dig into where the industry is, how vendors that are competitive with each other can work together to drive adoption of eBLs, and the role shippers can play in driving broader use of eBLs.