Electronic Bills of Lading: FAQ'S
These FAQs should be read in conjunction with Circular 12/15. They respond to queries received by the Club regarding the use of paperless trading systems and electronic bills of lading, and any potential consequences for P&I cover.
1. What is the position of the International Group of P&I Clubs with regard to paperless trading?
The position is set out in the attached circular 12/15 dated November 2015, Electronic (Paperless) Trading Systems Bolero International Ltd essDOCS Exchange Ltd “essDOCS”, and E-title.
In considering the use of a trading system that features electronic bills of lading, the Clubs wish to ensure that such a system ensures performance of the three functions of a bill of lading which customarily underpin P&I cover, namely: as a receipt, as a document of title, and as a contract of carriage which incorporates the Hague or Hague-Visby Rules.
2. In the light of this circular, do I have P&I cover for liabilities arising under any electronic bills of lading?
- Yes, cover is available for P&I liabilities arising under any electronic bills of lading to the extent these liabilities would also have arisen under paper bills of lading.
- To the extent these liabilities would have arisen because an electronic bill of lading has been used instead of a paper bill of lading, cover is discretionary unless the electronic trading system has been approved by the International Group.
3. Have any systems been approved by the Club/International Group?
The three systems approved by the International Group are those set out in the attached Circular and paragraph 1 above:
- essDOCS Exchange LtdDSUA 2009.3 and DSUA 2013.1 (“essDOCS”);
- Bolero International Ltd Rulebook/Operating Procedure 1999 (“Bolero”); and
- E-title (The Electronic Title User Agreement (version 1.2)
It is always advisable to check that the system preferred bears the correct designation and is the approved version.
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