The introduction of the new generation digital FIATA Bill of Lading (FBL) has been confirmed and will be launched by the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) as a new standard to members and exporters for use across the Supply Chain in South Africa.
This development will positively impact supply chain efficiencies and South Africa’s competitive position as a provider of world class logistics services, says Dr Juanita Maree, Chief Executive Officer of SAAFF.
South Africa hosted the Annual Rotational Presidency meeting of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders (FIATA) in Cape Town earlier this month. The FIATA delegation, led by President Ivan Petrov had the opportunity to delve deeper into the South African supply chain logistics sector during their visit, in consultation with industry leaders. Terry Gale, representing Exporters Western Cape and the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) welcomed the imminent introduction of the digital FBL.
Industry recognises the digital FBL and its proven tracking service as a strong solution that will add capacity and increase security of cargo movement through the entire logistics process – a valuable development in a challenging trading environment.
In global terms, the Bill of Lading is recognised as the most important document used in the transportation of goods, FIATA’s Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading is seen as the benchmark; long-standing but in constant evolution and acknowledged by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as a document fully aligned to the UNCTAD/ICC Rules for Multimodal Transport.
This new generation secured digital FBL and tracking solution allows FIATA to protect against fraudulent manipulation and to promote a digital ecosystem of trust for transport and trade documents. It supports transparency and security across the supply chain and will help member companies accelerate their digitalisation efforts. The digital FBL data model is fully aligned with the UN/CEFACT MMT Reference data model to ensure its interoperability with other standards and all trade parties.
Verifiable at any time by legitimate stakeholders interacting with the document, which dramatically reduces fraud risk, the digital FBL can be issued in digital and paper format and cannot be tampered with, with each document also being recorded on an immutable ledger. Stakeholders will be able to access the document audit trail through a unique QR code or on FIATA’s verification portal to certify the validity of the document, the integrity of its issuer and the integrity of its content.
The tracking solution used by FIATA for the digital FBL is already implemented and used by banks, corporates, warehouses, and inspection companies to protect other documents. Software providers worldwide make the secured digital FBL accessible in 17 territories so far through FIATA Association members. Forwarders can implement the digital FBL solution on their own in-house system or use a free digital FBL generator tool.