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PIL and IBM collaborate to trial IBM blockchain platform

Pacific International Lines (PIL) has used an electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) built on the IBM Blockchain Platform in a real-time pilot tracking shipment.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The e-BL reduced time to transfer the title deed from five to seven days to just one second.

The Bill of Lading is one of the most crucial documents used in international trade, typically issued by a shipping carrier to document the title or ownership of goods. It also functions as a receipt of goods and a contract of the shipment.

Combining e-BL with blockchain technology will help companies reduce their document processing times to almost zero by enabling an instantaneous digital transfer of the bill of lading for their cargo.

Document handling is automated, and goods delivered more quickly and efficiently. 

Hupco, a major importer in Singapore of mandarin oranges for the upcoming Lunar New Year, took part in the e-BL trial as the consignee of 3,000 cartons of mandarin oranges (approximately 108,000 mandarin oranges).   

Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman and CEO, Hupco said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the trial.  By using the e-BL, we have seen how the entire shipment process can be simplified and made more transparent with considerable cost savings. 

Our customers can expect their orders in a more timely manner, and, importantly, with freshness assured.”

Companies shipping perishable items like these mandarin oranges require faster document processing and expedited cargo clearing for delivery. This shortens the overall shipping time – reducing potential risks for retailers and providing fresher options to consumers.  

For this trial, Hupco benefited from collecting their goods faster with the immediate receipt of the electronic Bill of Lading. 

They also benefited from lower operating costs such as from electricity, including charging for refrigerated cargo containers at the port while waiting for collection, storage costs at port and cost savings from enhanced equipment utilisation.

Lisa Teo, executive director, PIL, said: “We are pleased with the steady progress of our blockchain collaboration with IBM. To-date, we have received very positive feedback from the industry and authorities, and we are enthused by the possibilities of how our blockchain developments can transform and inject a much-needed boost in efficiency and innovation into the industry.”

Harriet Green, CEO and chairman, IBM Asia Pacific, said: “A blockchain-based trade network will be a game-changer, and we have a great opportunity here with our partner PIL to revolutionise the documentation processes in a way that benefits the entire industry. Powered by blockchain, the e-BL developed by the IBM Research Singapore will be critical in helping to establish an extensible ecosystem for trade, thus expectedly enhancing trade efficiency and building trusted trade relationships among the industry players.”{/mprestriction}

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