Thursday, March 10, 2022

Revolutionary Step in Freight Forwarding Documentation with Adoption of eFBL

Electronic Multimodal Bill of Lading Destined to be Global Standard
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – The International Federation of Freight-Forwarders Associations (FIATA) which represents the profession in over 150 countries, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), one of the 5 regional economic commissions of the United Nations, have announced the official release of the electronic FIATA Multimodal Bill of Lading (eFBL) data standard.

Nobody should underestimate the importance of this move. The FIATA standard is generally expected to become the main global standard for all House Bill of Ladings, noting the compatibility with other BLs. Available via FIATA’s GitHub repository, the data standard is offered as open source for all software providers and industry stakeholders to implement.

The data standard, has been created on the basis of the mapping of the Negotiable FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (FBL) with the UN/CEFACT MMT reference data model, and allows the exchange of BL data in a standardised way, facilitating interoperability between all modes of transport and industry stakeholders. Dr Stéphane Graber, FIATA Director General commented:

“FIATA is delighted to be a pioneer in engaging with the UNECE to enable standardised data exchange supporting multimodal transport for operational purposes, using the UN/CEFACT standards as a basis to facilitate interoperability.

”FIATA is committed to facilitating the seamless exchange of data between freight-forwarders and their industry stakeholders. The release of the eFBL data model is a great step towards paperless trade, which is expected to benefit all actors of the supply chain by reducing costs, increasing security and gaining efficiency.”

The eFBL data standard is the first finalised tranche of the FIATA and UNECE collaboration. Three other FIATA standard documents are in the process of being mapped with the UN/CEFACT MMT RDM and the respective data standards are expected to be released by the end of Q2 2022.

These are the Non-negotiable FIATA Multimodal Transport Waybill (FWB), the FIATA Warehouse Receipt (FWR) and the FIATA Forwarders Certificate of Receipt (FCR), prompting UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova to observe:

“The standards in use now, including the only global standard for electronic data exchange UN/EDIFACT, were developed over 20 years ago. The standard we’re announcing today builds on a family of reference data models set out to become the next generation of global standards for trade and transport information exchange to be used for the next 10-20 years as international public goods.”

Photo: Things have moved on from this hand written B/L from 1875 (courtesy BOA Logistics).