TradeLens, a digital platform launched by IBM and APMoller-Maersk, announced the conclusion of an innovative letter of credit between HSBC and Syngenta using a digital bill of lading based on blockchain technology.

“Agrochemicals were shipped from South Korea to Bangladesh using a completely paperless process. This milestone marks an important step in modernizing trade finance and supply chain efficiency across the board. of the global business ecosystem,” according to a statement from Maersk.

Electronic bills of lading have been considered the holy grail of shipping documents – incredibly valuable but out of reach until now. Only 0.1% of original bills of lading are scanned today, but with an end-to-end SaaS solution via TradeLens now available for financial transactions, original invoices can transition to paperless processes.

During this completed shipment, all associated documentation was shared between the parties via the TradeLens platform, including the electronic bill of lading directly from the sealand shipping carrier – a Maersk company, commercial invoice, certificates of origin and analysis as well as bank collection documents. .

“Trading between nearby markets is often cluttered with paperwork, leading to delays and higher costs,” says Sanjay Tandon, regional head of product management, global trade and receivables finance, Asia Pacific, HSBC. “Removing paper from the process should not only increase the efficiency and speed of trade, but also enhance the attractiveness of the letter of credit as a trade finance solution by minimizing document complexity.”

Syngenta is estimated to have saved 10 days in document processing time.

“The need to eliminate the physical transfer of documentation has accelerated during the pandemic,” says Michael White, CEO and Head of TradeLens. “At the same time, the drive to modernize infrastructure using digital technology has never been more critical. TradeLens eBL for Trade Finance is the next step to facilitating trade, providing tools for paperless commerce to customers who can realize immediate savings. We are delighted to be working with HSBC and other banks to bring this solution to market.”

The TradeLens ecosystem consists of over 700 organizations, including major shipping carriers representing over two-thirds of the global market, which are integrated with leading trade finance banks operating in multiple countries to help modernize the trade finance industry. trade.

The platform has already tracked over 55 million container shipments, 4.7 billion events and over 25 million published documents.