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EssDOCS claims first ‘real’ electronic bill of lading

E-freight has finally come to the shipping industry, with what is believed to be the first eBill of Lading for a container movement issued in March by NYK Line. The eB/L covered a shipment of chemicals moving from Singapore to Wuhan, China and involved forwarder Elite International Logistics Singapore and banks in both China and the US.

The eB/L was produced by

technology company essDOCS and created from XML data pushed by NYK Line into the essDOCS solution using standard messaging. NYK Line issued the eB/L to Elite

International, which then added necessary supporting electronic documents before presenting the entire set to the American trade finance bank. China CITIC Bank accepted the ‘eSet’ under the terms of the eUCP letter of credit. Electronic Bills of Lading have

been used for some time for bulk cargo, but not for the liner trade. The NYK/essDOCS transaction followed several weeks of testing involving all trial participants; now essDOCS has set up testing pilots with other container lines which are nearly ready to use eB/ Ls for containerised shipments of coffee and metal.

By Marcia Macleod

According to VP marketing for

essDOCS, Nicholas Demetriou, an eB/L can save three to five days compared to a paper document. It also helps to eliminate errors which result in the bill of lading being rejected by the bank. By reducing the time taken up with paperwork, the eB/L can also reduce demurrage and storage costs. Bolero also claims to have

successfully produced an eB/L for a container movement, but

Food for thought

Transport giant Norbert Dentressangle has adopted technology normally used in the parcel industry for business- to-business deliveries by introducing electronic proof of delivery (POD) signatures on hand-held devices. The ‘sign on glass’ system has been implemented in the company’s food business unit, where customers are increasingly moving to invoicing on POD. Aſter two years in

development, the system uses a mobile solution developed by Data Driven Logistics and a tough rubberised Android tablet from GTec. Electronic PODs are captured

in real time at the point of delivery, along

with any photographic

evidence of damage or other incidents, if necessary. Customers can then raise invoices within minutes of a delivery being made, generating significant financial advantage in cash flow and

reduced administration costs. The system also provides

real time track and trace and discrepancy confirmation. “Say a retailer has ordered six boxes of bread rolls and two of croissants, but the use-by date on one is too soon, or one box is damaged - or the delivery is short,” suggests Martin Atkinson, director of the temperature controlled business unit. “The customer may decide to take the damaged box because most of the contents are okay,

or it may be rejected. That information is captured at the point of delivery. “Conversely, perhaps the

supplier has over-delivered, but the customer agrees to take the extra product anyway. All that can be recorded on the ePOD system, too. “Should there be a discrepancy,

the system automatically raises a discrepancy claim form, along with necessary photographic proof of the problem.”

Delphine drills down into the detail Priam Consulting has joined

the ranks of freight soſtware suppliers with the launch of Delphine intelligent supporting suite for forwarders and

logistics companies. Delphine automatically produces multiple reports, which are sent to the right individuals. Managers can easily see exceptions and then drill

down through the data to find out the cause of the exception, enabling it to be resolved easily and quickly. Delphine can also be used for forecasting and performing ‘what if’ calculations to enable efficient planning and to work out what might happen with different plans or

Descartes buys Customs Info

Logistics IT specialist Descartes Systems has acquired Customs Info, a Salt Lake City-based provider of trade data content for global trade management,

for $41.5 million. Customs Info provides

data and related

research tools to more than 800 multi-national shippers. The information is used to populate

systems such as including SAP GTS and Oracle GTM, and includes trade tariffs, duties, regulations, trade agreements and rules of origin.

policies. The soſtware can be integrated with all applications in a corporate system, including web-based modules.

no details are yet available. “A lot of technology

companies have said they have eB/L solutions, but they have not really got the industry buy-in,” points out director of global and European trade at the Freight Transport Association, Chris Welsh. “The key to success is to get around the international protocols;

you need an

international bankers group that will convince banks to accept them.”

Issue 5 2014 - Freight Business Journal

Hi-tech trains

Shippers and forwarders looking for road/rail services can take advantage of two new routes added by FreightArranger. The online service enables users to key in container origins and destinations and details of cargo being moved and the system will come up with the best service and route - rather like the National Rail Enquiries service, only for freight instead of passengers. (And, one hopes, with fewer malfunctions- Editor). It also seeks out the cheapest

combination of road and rail options. Launched last Autumn to offer

space on trains between Purfleet and Daventry, FreightArranger now includes train routes between Southampton and Manchester and Southampton and Leeds. The trains run on all working

days, with aſternoon loading cut-offs allowing next-day deliveries and can accept high cube (9’ 6” high) ISO containers and swapbodies up to 2.5 metres wide. There are opportunities to carry even wider containers and


swapbodies. FreightArranger will organise for goods to be taken from Southampton, by train to either of the two key cities and onward delivery by road, if required. It is expected that the routes

will attract one-way transits, particularly export goods. FreightArranger already offers a rail service between Purfleet and Daventry; additional routes are expected to be announced in the coming months. As part of the booking,

FreightArranger organises collection and delivery to and from rail terminals, but the customer can arrange its own road transport if it wishes, using FreightArranger only for the rail leg of the journey. Quotes can be converted

to bookings in seconds and all containers booked through FreightArranger are tracked during their transit. The system also connects services provided by different rail companies. Users pay a small annual license

fee, aſter which FreightArranger is free to use.

AFSS at 30

Transputec Computers has become the newest and thirtieth member of the Association of Freight Soſtware Providers. Transputec offers a document

management solution, scanning documents or at the point of printing capturing the document images and making them


management systems reduces the amount of paper photocopying, resolves issues surrounding paper storage, and supports sharing of documents with supply chain partners. AFSS has also become an

to relevant

users on the customer’s portal. Authorised people can view an individual document - for example, an airwaybill - or the entire flight file document bundle, including manifest, dangerous goods note, delivery note and so forth. Electronic


affiliate of EurTradeNet, the representative body for customs service providers at the Trade Contact Group in Brussels. It

also sits on the Electronic

Customs Group at the European Commission. Affiliation to ETN allows AFSS members to have a voice at meetings with the EU Taxation and Customs Union and to collaborate on areas of common interest.

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