Replace your original paper bills of lading with a more convenient digital alternative supported by blockchain technology.

Enjoy faster, cost-efficient trade with TradeLens eBL

In today’s world of digitisation, where much of business can be carried out online, there is still a lot of paperwork in international trade. Businesses that import and export goods need to ensure relevant documents end up in the right hands at the right time to ensure the smooth movement of cargo. Many still depend on physical copies for these document exchanges.

This is particularly evident when it comes to original bills of lading (BL), which serve as a receipt of cargo, evidence of a contract of carriage, as well as title to the goods. However, couriering these paper documents across the globe increases the risk of delays and takes up unnecessary time and resources, especially when amendments are needed.

The TradeLens eBL not only replicates all the functionalities of original paper bills of lading but enhances your workflows through end-to-end digitisation. It can conveniently be requested via your existing shipping instruction process with Maersk. Shippers, cargo owners, freight forwarders and carriers now have a streamlined, end-to-end, secure process for the issuance, transfer and surrender of original BLs.

Importance of blockchain technology

Underpinned by blockchain, the TradeLens eBL digitises the paper BL and all other related trade documentation, capturing the flexibility an original bill has traditionally performed in business processes at the click of a button. The value of TradeLens arises from ecosystem members sharing information on the platform. Blockchain is the technology that secures that data and makes trusted collaboration possible.

TradeLens uses the IBM Blockchain Platform, which is based on Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source permissioned blockchain.

This offers immutability, privacy, and traceability of shipping documents. Unlike open, anonymous blockchains like those used for cryptocurrencies, on the TradeLens blockchain, members are “Trust Anchors” and known to the network based on cryptographic identities.

How does Tradelens eBL work

How does TradeLens eBL work?

The TradeLens eBL is a fully digital instrument, replicating all the functionalities of original paper bills of lading. It can be requested via your existing shipping instruction process with the ocean carrier.

Managing the TradeLens eBL is a standardised process for all TradeLens participants and adheres to legal and regulatory frameworks.

Just a few clicks away

Document

Issue

Carriers issue an eBL to the shipper or their nominated agent. The issuance is recorded on the TradeLens blockchain.

Chain arrow pictogram

Transfer

The holder can now view the issued eBL on the TradeLens platform, and when ready, instantly and securely transfer it to another party (including the consignee, banks, brokers) with the click of a button. Holders can transfer the eBL to any onboarded party or surrender it back to the carrier for instant release.

Standalone service

Surrender

When they are ready to request the release of the goods, the holder can click ‘Surrender’ on the TradeLens platform, and the eBL is sent to the carrier for cargo release.

TradeLens eBL: Two high-level use cases

Use case 1 Use case 2
Use case 1

Shipper surrender:

The shipper surrenders the original bill of lading to the carrier at origin. Also known as a Telex release or express release.

With TradeLens:

Digitally receive and surrender the TradeLens eBL online via our Shipment Manager.

Use case 2

Single Transfer:

The transfer of original bills where shipper and consignee are known at the time of booking, and the bill transfers only once before surrender.

With TradeLens:

Digitally receive, transfer and surrender the TradeLens eBL and related documents via the Shipment Manager or APIs.

Use case 1 - Savings Use case 2 - Savings
Use case 1 - Savings
3 hours
Use case 2 - Savings
4+ days
Use case 1 - Savings
$50+
Use case 2 - Savings
$100+

*The table features an example of potential time and cost savings and is not reflective of actual rates..

Benefits of using TradeLens eBL

Use of paper BLs costs businesses time and courier charges. Then there’s also the challenge of physically sending, receiving and tracking the documents, especially when amendments are needed.

With TradeLens, your eBLs are just a few clicks away.

PCI DSS

Increase security and transparency

The risks of using paper original BLs are eliminated as documents are immediately available to all concerned parties at the right stage and any changes audited and fully traceable.
Tariff rates

Eliminate Cost

TradeLens enables all parties to redeploy resources to more value-added activities. The full shipping document pouch can be shared across permissioned parties, eliminating the need to print and courier documents.
quality control

Streamline your processes

With the TradeLens eBL, participants can electronically issue, transfer and surrender BLs via the TradeLens shipment manager and/or API connections.
Data improvement

Access a digital ecosystem

Go beyond the inefficient, manual, paper-based process of handling an original bill of lading with a TradeLens eBL, which performs the same function digitally.

Time savings

Current Bill Activity Time with paper BLs Time with TradeLens Day savings
Current Bill Activity
Direct transfer of original BL
Time with paper BLs
Etd+11
Time with TradeLens
Etd+3
Day savings
8
Current Bill Activity
Direct transfer BL with escrow
Time with paper BLs
Etd+11
Time with TradeLens
Etd+3
Day savings
8
Current Bill Activity
Documentary collection shipments
Time with paper BLs
Etd+25
Time with TradeLens
Etd+16
Day savings
9
Current Bill Activity
LC shipments
Time with paper BLs
Etd+25
Time with TradeLens
Etd+16
Day savings
9
Current Bill Activity
Trader shipments with multiple transfers
Time with paper BLs
Etd+39
Time with TradeLens
Etd+16
Day savings
23

Cost savings

Current Bill Activity Estimated cost*
Current Bill Activity
Courier cost: BL from carrier to shipper’s office
Estimated cost*
$10 – $15
Current Bill Activity
Courier cost: Final surrender of BL to carrier
Estimated cost*
$10 – $15
Current Bill Activity
Indirect costs (reworking errors / courier pack admin / lost BL)
Estimated cost*
-$50
Current Bill Activity
Total per original BL
Estimated cost*
$165 - $185

*The table features an example of potential time and cost savings and is not reflective of actual rates..

Interested in discovering how TradeLens eBL, can help your business?

Contact our TradeLens experts

Sophia Brumann
Sophia Brumann
Area Growth Manager, TradeLens United Kingdom & Ireland
Adriana Nava Sanchez
Adriana Nava Sanchez
Area Growth Manager, TradeLens South West Europe
Hala Demloj
Hala Demloj
Area Growth Manager, TradeLens Central South Europe

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