The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), a Dutch non-profit comprising nine of the world’s largest container shipping lines, has announced all its members will commit to 100% adoption of an electronic bill of lading (eBL) by 2030.
The shipping companies include MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, One, Evergreen, HMM, Yang Ming, and Zim.
According to the association, ocean carriers currently issue around 45 million paper bills of lading each year. Despite moves to increase digitalization spurred on by the pandemic, the DCSA estimated just over one percent were electronic in 2021.
Replacing physical paper bills of lading could save $6.5 billion in direct costs for stakeholders, enable $30-40 billion in annual global trade growth, transform the customer experience and improve sustainability.
Thomas Bagge, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), DCSA said: “The digitalisation of international trade holds vast potential for the world economy by reducing friction and, as trade brings prosperity and the eBL will further enable trade, helping bring millions out of poverty. This heralds the start of a new era in container shipping as the industry transitions to scaled automation and fully paperless trade.”
Speaking of the benefits of digitalisation, Vincent Clerc, CEO A.P. Moller -Maersk said, “A fully digitised bill of lading enables a more seamless customer experience across the supply chain and in turn it will help democratise trade and reduce time and costs for all involved parties. The need for digitisation in logistics is urgent, and the industry needs to speed up the process.”
Members believe this is an important milestone for the entire shipping industry, paving the way for the digitization of the entire value chain.