Israel-based liner company Zim Integrated Shipping Services (ZIM) is set to begin offering the opportunity to all its customers to switch to electronic Bills-of-Lading based on blockchain technology.
The offering will be introduced first on selected trades, with the Asia-South Africa and North America-Mediterranean trades being put in focus in the first quarter of 2019.
The company said these trades were chosen due to their “diverse activities and involved players.”
“Having gained considerable experience with this revolutionary technology, we are now moving forward,” Eyal Ben-Amram, ZIM CIO, said.
The move is being announced following successful trial period of the paperless Bills-of-Lading, accomplished with the Wave Ltd. and Sparx Logistics.
ZIM said that the exploratory transactions indicated that the blockchain technology can not only replace paper but also improve current activities which rely on emails, fax and other existing tools.
In two recent transactions, Original Bills of Ladings were transferred to the receiver within under two hours from vessel departure, a process that ordinarily takes days or even weeks, the company informed. All documentation processes, including endorsements, ownership transfers etc. were performed over the blockchain-based platform.
One consignment was shipped from Vietnam to the US East Coast, and a shipment of 11 High-Cube special containers were loaded in Koper and shipped to Haifa.
“Digitizing the shipping documentation process will have a tremendous effect of reducing the time, complexity and costs for all parties involved,” the company said.
“ZIM is pioneering the digitization efforts and have started involving other industry stakeholders for the exchange of knowledge and the creation of industry standards.”
ZIM completed the first pilot using Wave application, based on ledger technology, back in 2017.
During the trial all participants issued, transferred and received original electronic documents using the Wave Application, and the containers were shipped by Sparx Logistics from China to Canada.
An electronic substitute to the traditional Bill-of-Lading has been the industry’s Holy Grail for many years.
ZIM believes that the blockchain technology can be the solution that will drive the trade to the digital era.