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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. essDOCS Exchange LtdDSUA 2009.3 and DSUA 2013.1 (“essDOCS”);
  2. Bolero International Ltd Rulebook/Operating Procedure 1999 (“Bolero”); and
  3. 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.

To see more FAQ's, download the document in the link provided below.


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