Dutch companies will soon be the first in the world to be able to sign for goods via mobile phone, according to the European Shippers’ Council (ESC).
At the initiative of EVO (Dutch Shippers’ Council), TLN (Transport and Logistics Netherlands) and the NBB (Dutch Inland Shipping Bureau), Beurtvaartadres is currently developing the first reliable standardised digital bill of lading: TransFollow. This week, at the ICT & Logistiek trade fair in Utrecht, Beurtvaartadres will present the latest step in this process, mobile (NFC) signing for received goods based on international standards. A trial will begin in December with a selected number of logistics service providers, senders and recipients.
It is already possible to pay with a smartphone for consumers. TransFollow is now introducing mobile signing for goods in addition. The digitisation of freight data is important for many businesses, because in many cases a signed bill of lading is needed for invoicing and to comply with (tax-related) laws and regulations.
Currently businesses have to wait for the paper version with all the signatures to be returned to them: with TransFollow this will happen in real time. Via the TransFollow platform, recipients also get an overview of the exact timing of all the goods to be received. Many suppliers of logistics software, board computers and logistics service providers are therefore already involved in the new platform.
Currently businesses in the logistics chain use millions of paper bills of lading, packing slips and checklists every year. With 450 million freight movements a year and cost savings that can amount to tens of thousands of euros per business, this represents EUR 675 million (USD 850m) of potential savings on logistics a year. TransFollow is expected to become available to all businesses in the first half of 2015.