essDOCS enables first electronic Bill of Lading transaction under Singaporean Law

The Maltese company essDOCS has enabled the first ever electronic Bill of Lading (eB/L) transaction under Singaporean law. This milestone exchange took place between BHP, who sold nickel matte to Jinchuan Group. The cargo was then shipped by Ocean Network Express (ONE) from Australia to China.

All of the documents required were presented electronically. This milestone followed a 2021 amendment to Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA). By adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) eB/Ls were granted the same legal status as paper equivalents.

The trade was supported by National Australia Bank’s Hong Kong branch, acting as the advising bank on behalf of BHP, and a leading Chinese trade finance bank acting on behalf of Jinchuan.

This transaction is a significant milestone for digitising the global commodities trade. While CargoDocs eB/Ls have been in use since 2010, this is the first issued under the ETA. Online, real-time collaboration to draft and approve the CargoDocs eB/L was enabled by Assemble Cargo Docs, and Exchange Title Docs was used for the electronic signatures. The process was completed electronically, in under 48 hours.

Author: Emma Dailey

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