e-Bills are an ongoing hot topic. So what is all the fuss about?
"The answer is simple: e-Bills overcome the key problems associated with traditional, paper bills of lading. They offer a quicker and cheaper way to trade, meaning that the administrative costs and the risks of misdelivery of cargo can be significantly reduced. Moreover, there are three International Group-approved e-Bill systems and provided one of these is used, P&I cover applies on the usual terms.
The publicity surrounding e-Bills is therefore well deserved. Not only that, the publicity is important; the uptake on the use of e-Bills in the industry has historically been relatively slow. Carriers, shippers and receivers are understandably cautious about a move away from the familiar paper bills. After all, paper bills have been in use for hundreds of years. The move away from paper is now gathering momentum, but it is crucial that to maintain this impetus, information about e-Bills is easily accessible to the industry and that the benefits of using e-Bills are well understood. The UK P&I Club is a supporter of e-Bills and we are working hard to help disseminate such information. For our detailed review of the three approved e-Bill systems please see our latest legal briefing and for frequently asked questions, please see our FAQ's on e-Bills.
As technology advances, in particular with the advent of Blockchain, the industry can expect to see more e-Bill systems on offer, and developments in the existing e-Bill systems. The future for electronic trade is therefore even brighter. We will continue to circulate updates going forward so look out for those and feel free to contact us with any queries. We will keep spreading the e-Bill word – please do the same!"