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ISRAEL: Port Authority Completes Blockchain Trial for Bills of Lading

The Israel Ports Company (IPC) has announced the successful completion of its pilot initiative for digitally transferring bills of lading using new blockchain technology, which it plans to make available across the nation’s ports at a later stage.

The IPC is a government-owned entity which oversees and regulates Israel’s seaports, and is also the developer and operator of the Israeli Ports Community System (IPCS). The IPCS is a free service that provides advanced digital trade procedures between the agencies and companies operating in the Israeli maritime trade community. More than 1,000 companies and organisations and over 4,000 registered individuals currently use its services, including exporters and importers, port operating companies, international forwarders, customs agents, ship agents, container warehouses, and transport companies.

According to the IPC release, issued on 12 March, the new digital platform for transferring bills of lading will deliver significant savings in time and money to all participants in the maritime supply chain. Bills of lading are legal documents issued by a carrier to the shipper, detailing the contents of cargo being transferred. An importer must submit the document at a port to release the goods from customs.

The current process requires paper documents to be transferred via courier from one party to another, which introduces inefficiencies and the scope for fraud. Using blockchain technology provides a high level of information security and prevents forgeries. The system also aids the faster release of cargo and will provide savings in time and the cost of engaging courier firms.

Local shipping firm ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd, a top 20 global freight carrier, which already offers its own similar digital service, participated in the trial. The other parties involved were Adama, one of Israel’s largest exporters, Damco Logistics and PPL 33-35, which operates the Port Community System in Ukraine. Other participants from Israel and other parts of the world are already lined up for further trials of the system.

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