Pacific International Lines, IBM in blockchain trial to create electronic bill of lading

SINGAPORE - Singapore's largest privately-owned shipping line, Pacific International Lines (PIL), has teamed up with IBM in another initiative to digitalise supply chain management.

PIL and IBM will jointly undertake a blockchain trial to design and create an electronic bill of lading. The legal and commercial document provides evidence for the contract of carriage, receipt of goods and ownership of goods, and acts as a document of reference for banks to extend trade financing. 

Traditionally, this critical document is mailed from one party to another, opening up room for fraud and loss of the document in addition to chalking up handling costs.

The latest blockchain collaboration between PIL and IBM is backed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Shipping Association, Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Customs and the Bank of China's Singapore unit.

PIL's executive director, Lisa Teo said: "Working with a complex logistic network comprising ports and terminals, agencies, governmententities, banks and shippers, a systematic supply chain management is important to lower costs.

The use of blockchain to allow for direct exchange of documents boosts transparency and eliminates disputes, forgeries and unnecessary risks across the supply chain, she added.

The latest initiative comes more than a year after PIL, PSA International and IBM penned a memorandum of understanding last Augustto explore and trial blockchain-based innovations in supply chain management.