Zim completes pilot of blockchain based paperless Bills of Lading

NOVEMBER 21, 2017 — One of the largest containership operators in the world, Zim Integrated Shipping Services, has completed a pilot project using paperless Bills of Lading based on blockchain technology.

The groundbreaking solution allows the secure exchange of original documents on the blockchain and was completed in cooperation with Sparx Logistics and Wave Ltd.

During the trial all participants issued, transferred and received original electronic documents using the Wave application; the containers, shipped by Sparx Logistics from China to Canada, were delivered to the consignees without a hitch.

An electronic substitute to the traditional Negotiable Ocean Bill-of-lading has been the industry's Holy Grail for many years, says Zim, which is pioneering the new solution following a long market analysis.

The new blockchain-based system developed by Wave uses distributed ledger technology to ensure that all parties can issue, transfer, endorse and manage shipping and trade related documents through a secure decentralized network. The application is free for Shippers, Importers and Traders and requires no IT or operational changes.

Zim CEO Eli Glickman said that he was "proud" that his company was leading the way "in introducing blockchain technology to the shipping world, and congratulate our partners in this exciting initiative, Sparx Logistics and Wave Ltd."

Zim CIO Eyal Ben-Amram added that "While we are still in the process of evaluating the technology, we are confident that this type of forward-looking ideas will advance our industry as a whole towards a more efficient and modern phase, promoting innovation and technology in our industry is an integral part of Zim's vision."

The use of blockchain technology is expected to better the bottom line. "Moving to a digital Bill of Lading would be hugely beneficial in supporting the supply chain in general, through reduced costs, error free documentation and fast transfer of original documents," said Wave CEO Gadi Ruschin. "We look forward to continuing the process and invite more of Zim's customers and partners to join the pilots and use Wave for their business needs."

Zim, headquartered in Haifa, Israel, which operates about 80 vessels, had a turnover of $2.54 billion in 2016.

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