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DCSA publishes eB/L standards

In an effort to accelerate the digitalisation process of the maritime industry the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), has published booking standards for cargo and the issuing of bills of lading (B/L).

Standardisation of digital processes will allow different company systems to access the necessary data and the DCSA has designed its B/L standards so that they are aligned with the UN/CEFACT’s (United  Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) multimodal transport model.

“This is the first publication of the multi-year DCSA eDocumentation initiative which will deliver standards to enable digitalisation of end-to-end container shipping documentation, starting with the B/L. Through this initiative, DCSA aims to facilitate acceptance and adoption of an electronic bill of lading (eBL) by regulators, banks and insurers and to unify communication between these organisations and customers, carriers and all other stakeholders involved in a transaction,” said a DCSA statement.

Established as a neutral, non-profit group of nine shipping lines to further the digitalisation of container shipping technology standards, the DCSA eBL standard publication is comprised of: DCSA Standard for the Bill of Lading 1.0, the DCSA Industry Blueprint 3.0, the DCSA Information Model 3.0 and the DCSA Interface Standard for the Bill of Lading.

The group said that the Interface Standard will be available to download in January, with “API definitions will be published on SwaggerHub, and a reference implementation will be available on GitHub, also in January.”

Meanwhile, the Standard for the Bill of Lading, Industry Blueprint and Information Model are immediately available to download on the DCSA web site.

Bill of Lading standards can align paper B/L and processes, while later DCSA eDocumentation, will include data and standards for booking requests and confirmation, arrivals notices and the release of the shipment.

“The eBL standard is the first DCSA standard to be eligible for self-certification under a new DCSA Compliance Programme, which will be published in January 2021. Any organisation that implements the eBL standard may demonstrate compliance by completing a self-certification checklist (SCC). In January, the SCC will be available on the DCSA website along with a Self-Certification Handbook that provides further details about the DCSA compliance programme and the procedure for self-certification. Self-certification for other DCSA standards will be introduced in the subsequent months,” said the DCSA.

Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA said that digitalising documents is a critical element for the simplification and greater efficiency of global trade.

“The alignment we’ve achieved among the carriers is a critical milestone on the way to full eBL adoption. Paperless trade will benefit all parties involved in a transaction in terms of cost reduction, customer experience, efficiency, growth, innovation and sustainability,” explained Bagge.

DCSA said it would like to see all supply chain stakeholders involved in optimising eDocumentation standards for safely and the delivery of goods to consignees.

Information webinars will be scheduled in January regarding the DCSA eBL standards. Registration links can be found on the DCSA event page.

DCSA member carriers include:  MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE, Evergreen, Yang Ming, HMM and ZIM.

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