What Is A Bill of Lading? And Why Paper Versions Suck
March 13, 2019
March 13, 2019
A Bill of Lading (BoL) has long been one of the most critical documents for freight shipments. It defines the contract of carriage between the carriers of freight, and the shippers of the cargo itself, determining the conditions of the delivery, as well as providing proof of ownership of the cargo. They are a “Loading Receipt, Contract Of Carriage and a Document Of Title”.
With such a crucial piece of paper, there are understandably some issues that can arise during the shipping process. We’d like to show the many disadvantages of a physical Bill of Lading, and how we plan to improve upon them with our all-digital solution.
Slow Speed And Complications
Traditionally, a Bill of Lading must be first printed, then physically taken by a trucker on their routes – often they will have a number of Bills of Lading with them at any one time depending on how many separate shipments they are transporting. This makes losing one quite possible, and general on-the-road admin a tougher job than it needs to be. Following the delivery of a shipment, a Proof of Delivery must also be printed, signed, and sent back to home base via an expensive courier, further complicating the
Even if you’re somehow avoiding couriers, you’ll have to pass a physical shipping document to a carrier or shipper to get the journey started. This generally would involve the truck driver having to travel to the offices of a trucking company, costing more time and money, as well as simply being inconvenient. On holidays and
With a blockchain-enabled electronic Bill of Lading, this would no longer be an issue – instant and safe are the name of the game.
Frequent courier journeys have the one downside of
Not-So-Smart Chain of Custody
A paper-based Bill of Lading cannot truly verify whether a given chain of custody is legitimate or not, as it can be corrupted, lost, or stolen. With FreightTrust, these fears can be eliminated, as blockchains are notoriously impossible to be tampered with.
Every step of the way, FreightTrust will create an on-chain chain of custody, which cannot be tampered with or overwritten. Checking where the cargo has been
Cargo Type Variances
Not all cargo types are born equal, and some require very different methods of being handled. For example, a truckload of bananas isn’t quite the same as a truckload of .50 cal ammunition. Perishable items such as food or just-in-time manufacturing components are extremely short-term in terms of their transportation lifespans, requiring only a day or two on board a truck or potentially in warehouse storage.
Industrial or hazardous materials, on the other hand, may have a lifespan of several years, meaning that their documentation and records need to be kept for a far longer period of time, once again increasing the likelihood of them being lost, stolen, or damaged.
One of our customers, Vairog, recently used FreightTrust to handle shipping documentation for their shipment of several pallets of .50 caliber ammunition, which went off without a hitch. The digital documentation for this delivery now resides safely in our cloud, accessible at any time, but also well out of harm’s way.
Think Of The Trees
Even without the benefits to logistics and efficiency, there’s the issue of the environmental impact that can be sidestepped by phasing out these paper-based documents. Not only the paper that the Bills of Lading are printed
Proof-of-Stake blockchain systems do come with their own issues when it comes to their environmental impact, but this pales in comparison to a transnational system involving the yearly printing of millions of documents, and a multitude of criss-crossing couriers.
With our FreightTrust platform, we aim to solve all of these issues by putting electronic Bills of Lading on the blockchain, enabled as parametric smart contracts – meaning that when certain parameters are met, the smart contract will self-execute, taking even more potential error out of the equation. This could be when a shipment changes hands,
Bills of Lading no longer need to be slow, costly, and inefficient pieces of paper. Transferring them to the blockchain has the potential to save money, time, and a whole lot of worrying – with the benefit of saving a few trees along the way.
Having said all this – if you simply like the look of everything else we do, we also have support for physical documents so you can continue using your traditional Bills of Lading with the added benefit of FreightTrust’s cutting-edge additional feature set.
See more details and get started saving time, money, and resources on the FreightTrust website.
What We Do
Sign up now and save yourself time, money, and effort that you can reinvest elsewhere.