Man overwhelmed by flying paper (administrative burden) on left and finger pointing at screen with paper icons in neat folders and the words e-bills of lading superimposed

New Report Highlights Positive eBL Law Reforms

Published: 29 May 2024

The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), a founding member of the FIT Alliance together with BIMCO, has published a promising report on overcoming legal and regulatory barriers to fully adopting electronic bills of lading (eBL). The DCSA’s research “Overcoming legal and regulatory barriers to eBL adoption” covers 15 jurisdictions that account for 60% of global trade, identifying ways to streamline the transition to eBLs.

eBLs have the potential to save $6.5 billion in direct costs and boost global trade by $30-40 billion annually. The report reveals that eBLs are already legally possible in most jurisdictions, with only two regions currently needing further legal adjustments — efforts that are already underway.

The report emphasises that while some jurisdictions impose specific conditions for eBL use, many allow flexible, private sector-driven adoption. DCSA recommends harmonising these conditions across borders to prevent fragmentation and enhance global trade efficiency.

Highlighting the collaboration between governments and the private sector, the report stresses the importance of education and awareness to address legacy practices and legal uncertainties. The DCSA is optimistic about achieving 100% eBL adoption by 2030 among its liner company members and is already expanding research to additional jurisdictions.

The positive momentum in legislative adjustments signal a bright future for digital trade and transport.

A copy of the DCSA Report can be downloaded here: DCSA - Transforming the container shipping industry 

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Grant Hunter


Grant Hunter

Director of Standards, Innovation and Research

London, United Kingdom