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Pacific International Partners IBM For Blockchain-powered Bill Of Lading Pilot

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Singapore-based Pacific International Lines (PIL) partnered IBM Blockchain for a real-time blockchain-powered Bill of Lading pilot to track the shipment of 28 tons of fresh mandarin oranges from China to Singapore for the Lunar New Year celebrations. The Mandarin orange is an important symbol of the Chinese New Year.

PIL used an electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) built on the IBM Blockchain Platform for the shipment. The trial produced a significant reduction in the administrative process, with the transfer of title deed done in just one second instead of the normal five to seven days, the companies said.

Bill of Lading is one of the most crucial documents used in international trade, issued by a shipping carrier to document the title or ownership of goods. It also functions as a receipt of goods and a contract of the shipment.

The current way of using paper bills of lading is a process that is often slowed down by lengthy paperwork and exposed to fraud and inefficiencies.

The usage of e-BL makes the process more efficient and at the same time, provides a more secure, transparent and seamless documentation trail. It also lowers operating costs such as electricity costs for refrigerated cargo containers and storage costs at port.

Combining e-BL with blockchain technology promises to help companies reduce their document processing times to almost zero, with an instantaneous digital transfer of the bill of lading for their cargo. Document handling is automated, and goods delivered more quickly and efficiently.

Hupco Pte Ltd., a major importer in Singapore of mandarin oranges for the upcoming Lunar New Year, took part in the e-BL trial as the consignee of 3,000 cartons of mandarin oranges.

Companies shipping perishable items like these mandarin oranges require faster document processing and expedited cargo clearing for delivery.

The live trial follows the e-BL Proof-of-Concept (PoC) which was announced in October 2018. PIL and IBM collaborated to digitize the lifecycle of negotiable and non-negotiable Bills of Lading on top of distributed ledger technology.

The PIL-IBM collaboration was supported by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs (National TradePlatform), and Bank of China Ltd. Singapore Branch (BOC).

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