IPCSA Expanding Effort to Develop and Prove Blockchain Bill of Lading
The International Port Community Systems Association’s (IPCSA) declared that it is expanding its initiatives intended to advance the blockchain bill of Lading. Like various other organizations and partnerships, the IPCSA members are developing standardization and proof-of-concept of blockchain applications in logistics and e-commerce.
As part of the initiative, the Chinese e-commerce and technology group Alibaba, will be expanding its work with the project engaging in a new blockchain project with the organizations’ joint Logistics Visibility Task Force. Alibaba currently declared that it would be operating with the China Merchants Port Group to utilize the blockchain to develop smart port technology.
Alibaba and the IPCSA have been operating together since 2018, including a project in association with China’s national logistics information shared network, LOGINK, where they founded a global intelligent logistics network, called the Logistics Visibility Task Force. The task force concentrated on the development of track and trace solutions and the application of ISO standards. Alibaba is now also entering the IPCSA blockchain bill of lading initiative.
“The use of blockchain in transferring an electronic Bill of Lading is expected to deliver significant savings in time and money to all participants in the supply chain while maintaining a high level of information security and preventing forgeries,” said Alibaba Cainiao Network’s CTO, Gu Xuemei in a statement. “In addition, Alibaba Cainiao Network hopes to cooperate with industry chain partners to build global blockchain application standards for logistics and e-commerce.”
The IPCSA blockchain bill of lading initiative is led by an IPCSA member, Israel Ports Company, which operates the IPCS (Israeli Ports Community System). According to the IPCSA, Israel Ports Company lately ran numerous successful pilots utilizing blockchain technology for transferring electronic bills of Lading.
One of the pilot projects included the shipment of cargo through ZIM Shipping Company from Israel to Ukraine, where IPCSA member PPL 33-35 works that country’s Port Community System. A bill of Lading was electronically published by the shipping company and shifted to the exporter and then to the importer in the Spain and Ukraine. During the test, the system provided continuous data as to which party was holding the electronic bill of Lading together with the status of the cargo.
“There are numerous strong reasons for using blockchain technology for bills of Lading. Blockchain is transferring an asset, and there is huge value in linking the consignment to the information that Port Community Systems hold,” said Richard Morton, secretary-general of IPCSA in a statement. “This can match the bill of lading to any ‘event’ during the movement of the cargo – for example, that the cargo has been loaded on the ship, arrived at the port, been unloaded, been cleared by customs, or exited the gate. There are various parties included in this process – shippers, shipping lines, banks, importers, forwarders, agents, and others. By matching data in this way, nodes can be added to the blockchain relevant to specific partners.”
In reporting its blockchain initiatives, the IPCSA also embraces the current DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association) initiative to standardize the bill of Lading. IPCSA understands that each of these initiatives will support the acceptance of an eBill of Lading. IPCSA is an association of electronic exchange platforms, including Cargo Community Systems, Sea and Air Port Authorities, Port Community Systems, and Single Window Operators. The Association has members working in 40 countries over the globe.