CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE STUDI CONTAINERS
ANNO XXXVIII - Numero GIUGNO 2020
ALIBABA JOINS BLOCKCHAIN BILL OF LADING PROJECT
The joint work is aiming at standardisation and proof-of-concept
(POC) of blockchain application in logistics and e-commerce.
"Chinese e-commerce and technology group Alibaba has
signed up to the International Port Community Systems Association's
(IPCSA) Blockchain Bill of Lading initiative and embarked on a new
blockchain project in the organizations' joint Logistics Visibility
The IPCSA Blockchain Bill of Lading initiative is being led by
an IPCSA member, Israel Ports Company, which operates the Israeli
Ports Community System (IPCS).
Already in 2020, Israel Ports Company has run a number of
successful pilots using Blockchain technology for transferring
electronic Bills of Lading.
Some pilots involved the shipment of a cargo via ZIM Shipping
Company from Israel to Ukraine, where IPCSA member PPL 33-35
operates that country's Port Community System. The exporter was
Adama Israel, with shipments to Adama Ukraine, with the help of
customs agents Damco (Israel) and Remtrans (Ukraine).
Zhu (Judy) Hongu, head of the standardisation department of
Alibaba Group, said: "Alibaba and IPCSA have been working
closely together for the past two years. In October 2018, in
collaboration with LOGINK (China's national logistics information
shared network), we set up a global intelligent logistics network,
named the Logistics Visibility Task Force.
"In its work to develop global smart supply chains, the
Task Force has focused on the development of track and trace
solutions and the use of ISO standards. Following on from this work,
Alibaba has signed up to the IPCSA Blockchain Bill of Lading
initiative, effectively making this a second workstream of the Task
Gu Xuemei, Alibaba Cainiao Network CTO, said: "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.
"In addition, Alibaba Cainiao Network hopes to cooperate
with industry chain partners to build global blockchain application
standards for logistics and ecommerce."
Explaining the benefits of using blockchain for Bills of Lading
Richard Morton, secretary general of IPCSA, said: "Blockchain
is transferring an asset and there is huge value in linking the
consignment to the information that Port Community Systems hold.
"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 port, been unloaded, been cleared by
customs, or exited the gate. By matching these events to the Bill of
Lading, the solution gives much-needed information and flexibility.
"There are multiple parties involved in this process -
shippers, shipping lines, importers, banks, forwarders, agents, and
so on. By matching information in this way, nodes can be added to
the Blockchain relevant to specific partners."
He added: "Standardised and structured data is the key to
making this work. We recognise that this is a journey. Getting
people to use structured data - especially small and medium-sized
companies - is a challenge. The IPCSA Bill of Lading will also
accept adding PDF and JPG documents in the first version, but
ultimately it will be entirely based on Blockchain structured data."
IPCSA also welcomes the recent Digital Container Shipping
Association (DCSA) initiative to help standardise the Bill of
Lading, which will help in the acceptance of an eBill of Lading.
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