The International Association of Freight Forwarders (Fiata) has launched a paperless bill of lading that allows freight forwarders to issue secured, paperless FBLs thought their everyday TMS and alternative software tools.
Blockchain technology is used to authenticate the documents and provide an audit trail.
It’s a solution, says Fiata, that improves the level of security compared to the paper version.
“Conscious of the various challenges which remain to be overcome to achieve worldwide adoption and legal recognition of electronic exchange of data, the paperless FBL is an answer to the needs of the industry for improved access and exchange of trade documents.”
The document issuer can decide in which format the original, unaltered document is to be shared with its stakeholders: in paper form or as a PDF. Based on its eFBL data standard, Fiata has developed an API service, available free of charge to all software providers, allowing them to connect with Fiata to create secured paperless FBLs.
Seven software providers have already signed an agreement with the organisation, and the paperless FBLs can already be issued with edoxOnline, InfoSysTech-IST and Usyncro who have finalised the implementation.
All technical specifications are available on FIATA’s GitHub repository.
The solution, developed by Fiata partner Komgo, will help to reduce fraud risks, as each document is recorded on an immutable ledger and will be verifiable at any time by all stakeholders interacting with the document, Fiata explains. Stakeholders will be able to either scan the QR code at the top right of the document, or directly upload the PDF on Fiata’s verification page to access the document audit trail which will certify:
- the validity of the document,
- the identity of its issuer,
- the integrity of its content.
Souleïma Baddi, CEO of Komgo, said: “Documents are the bedrock of international trade, but they don’t operate like we need them to and they’re susceptible to fraud and forgery, which happens quite often.
“Trakk is the digital ecosystem of trust for trade documents. I am thrilled to see Fiata joining all companies, financial institutions, warehouses and others who are using Trakk to protect their documents against fraud.”
WiseTech Global says the initiative will support transparency and security across the supply chain and will help companies to accelerate their digitalisation efforts. CargoWise customers will be able to request a connection to Fiata’s eFBL from June.
Fiata last year developed Freight Pay in a bid to reduce banking charges for small payments, as part of its push into digitisation.