FIATA and essDOCS launch project to digitise FIATA & NVOCC Bills of Lading
The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with essDOCS to provide a framework for further cooperation in digitising Bills of Lading.
FIATA introduces an electronic FIATA Bill of Lading (eFBL) offering safe, secure, reliable, efficient, and faster paperless trade to its members. As part of the project plan, FIATA’s Advisory Body Information Technology will work on the digitisation of FIATA documents, starting with the eFBL and in a second phase the electronic House Bill of Lading (eHBL issued by NVOCCs) plus other FIATA documents. With essDOCS’ assistance, its CargoDocs electronic exchange will help prevent fraudulent copying and errors that might be associated with paper documents. This is part of the long-term strategy identified by FIATA with the involvement of several FIATA entities and experts.
Five FIATA Association Members from diverse regions will participate in the pilot project to test the new CargoDocs-customized FIATA system. The pilots will ensure a seamless transition to a paperless environment. They will be conducted across pre-specified trade lanes and will be guided by FIATA Association Members.
Specifically, the pilots will be carried out in 3 phases. Initially, FIATA members will simply replace their current printing of FBLs with an online, collaborative tool housed within essDOCS’ secure hosted servers. Members will be able to either draft their FBL online, and share it with their shipper before it is printed and signed, or allow their shipper to draft their own FBL before being printed and signed. The FBLs will be printed onto blank FBL paper which will be distributed by FIATA and signed by FIATA NVOCCs.
Phase 2 of the project will add various security features to help identify fraudulent FBLs and will be extended to include members’ own House Bills of Lading. In phase 3, FIATA members will be able to adopt fully electronic FIATA Bills of Lading (eFBL) or House Bills of Lading (eHBL).
In October 2017 at the FIATA World Congress, an MoU was signed with GS1 as part of the step-by-step approach for identifying and migrating FIATA documents into a digital platform, using the GS1 global unique identification system. This project will enable the global FIATA community to offer secure high-quality intermodal solutions for the benefit of all supply chain stakeholders.