The five most influential organizations of world trade came together to formulate the alliance for accelerating digital transformation in the logistics industry. With this, they aim to simplify the global trade functioning, involving e-bill of lading as well. An electronic bill of lading is the digital contract that takes place between the goods’ owner and the carrier company. It contains all the details regarding the type of goods, the departure and arrival timing, and other relevant details.
Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), BIMCO, FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and SWIFT signed a memorandum together to evade the exorbitant and undesired disparity in the norms of the shipping industry’s digitalization. They created an alliance named Future International Trade (FIT) to organize the data and best practices of the industry’s management to oversee all transactions that happen digitally.
The FIT Alliance is made with the aim to focus on creating awareness about the data standards’ importance. It will also make aware of the standard judicial conditions that are prevalent across global platforms and legislatures. The main mindset behind this alliance is to unite all the stakeholders for e-bill of lading. The stakeholders are from the shipping and shipping container industry. And the regulators, banks, insurers can all accept the concept. It will also unify communication for global trade transactions between the shippers, carriers, stakeholders, and the above organizations. The Chief Executive Officer of DCSA, Thomas Bagge said, “From the beginning, DCSA has understood the importance of cross-industry collaboration to achieve the elusive goal of universal eBL”
He further stated that the FIT Alliance is their continuous efforts result for collaboration they were aiming for. He said that 90% of the world’s goods are transported by metal shipping containers. The bill of lading transaction goes through a diverse set of stakeholders like government regulators, shippers, insurers, and others. He further enumerates that they all must be on board for the widespread use and success of eBL. He also stated, “The agreement between DCSA and these diverse industry associations is an exciting milestone in our journey towards standardizing all container shipping documentation through our e-Documentation initiative.”
The DCSA estimated that e-Bill of lading adoption would save around $4bn per year of the container shipping industry. The container line Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has wholeheartedly welcomed the FIT Alliance. MSC Global Chief Digital, Innovation Officer and DCSA Chairman André Simha said everyone should accept the FIT Alliance for it to meet success. It will also help in developing a common rule or language in the industry. By working together that is a by-product of joint efforts of the whole industry.
Ho further enumerated that by bringing together the important trade associations, it represents a major step forward. He is excited to see the changes the collaboration will bring. He said FIT Alliance is the step ahead in bringing together all the influential trade organizations. FIATA openly accepted the FIT Alliance as it had earlier developed the solutions that ICC approved. It believes that by working together all the documents needed for different cargo types would be simplified. It will create an open-source for all different needs of the shipping and maritime shipping container industry.
Dr. Stephane Graber, FIATA Director-General stated, “Interoperability between all actors of the trade and transport industry is the key foundation to enable smooth data exchange and to streamline the end-to-end shipping process for our members.” FIATA, the owner of the negotiable multimodal transport document, validated by UNCATD and ICC believes that for global trade digitalization an industry-wide effort is necessary. He told, “An industry-wide effort to establish open-source, interoperable, technology-agnostic standards is essential to make digitalization of international trade a reality.”
John Denton, ICC Secretary-General also welcomed the FIT Alliance. He said that international trade would become fairly less complex than todays’. He said, “Through the FIT Alliance, we are collaborating with key industry players to create and accelerate the adoption of digital standards for bills of lading. It will make international shipping dramatically more simple, secure and seamless.”