BIMCO launches campaign to accelerate uptake of electronic bills of lading


BIMCO has launched the "25 by 25 pledge", a commitment by some of the world’s biggest shippers in the bulk sector to target moving 25% of their annual seaborne trade volume for at least one commodity using electronic bills of lading by 2025. The pledge is part of an ongoing effort to accelerate trade digitalisation and streamline the supply chain process in the bulk sector.


The use of electronic bills of lading (eBLs) increases efficiency, reduces costs and improves the overall transparency and security of trade. In contrast, paper bills of lading are inefficient, slow down trade and are vulnerable to fraud and human error. The use of paper bills therefore poses unnecessary legal and commercial risks such as relying on letters of indemnity or getting lost in transit.  

"The wider adoption of electronic bills of lading is an important step in the shipping industry’s digital transformation," said Grant Hunter, Director of Standards, Innovation and Research at BIMCO. "We are delighted that some major players in the dry bulk sector have already backed this community initiative to reach 25% usage across the entire bulk sector. These mining companies have made good headway with adopting eBLs over the past years, mainly with iron ore, but much more can be done," Hunter said.   

Hui Ling Chan, VP, Order-to-Cash Global Business Services at BHP, one of the world's largest miners said: "Identifying and driving innovative solutions is key to the way BHP operates, and we are committed to supporting the digital transformation in the shipping industry together with our supply chain partners. We are pleased to be a signatory to the 25 by 25 pledge and hope others will join with us to support the acceleration of trade digitalisation and streamlining of the supply chain process.”  

Laure Baratgin, Head of Commercial Operations at Rio Tinto said, “As the largest dry bulk shipper in the world, one of our ambitions has been to continuously improve the experience of doing business with Rio Tinto for our customers and supply chain through innovative end-to-end digital solutions. We fully support the 25 by 25 pledge on the use of electronic bills of lading – as a key step in enabling faster, more secure and traceable trade flows, and bringing the industry closer to a full digital trade future.”

Erick Tavares, Sales Administration Manager at Vale, a leading global iron ore supplier said: “Vale takes great pride in being among the first to sign the 25 by 25 pledge. Innovation and digitalization are levers for us to reach our ambitions, and over the past decade, we have worked tirelessly to digitize our operations both internally and externally, always with a focus on enhancing the customer experience. By signing the pledge, we are reaffirming our dedication to advancing our digitalization process and inviting our customers and partners to join us on this exciting journey that benefits the entire supply chain.”  

“At Anglo American, we are committed to supporting initiatives that help to drive innovation and efficiency in our products’ supply chains. Digitisation is a key enabler for such a drive and the use of electronic bills of lading is a natural part of this journey. We are proud to be a signatory to the 25 by 25 pledge,” said Timo Smit, Executive Head of Marketing at Anglo American.  Owners and operators also have an important role to play in the switch to electronic bills of lading, as they are key stakeholders in this process, and BIMCO invites their support for the initiative.  

Mr Jinsong Gu, Chairman of COSCO Shipping Bulk Co. Ltd and member of BIMCO’s Board of Directors said: “We believe that BIMCO’s campaign to achieve 25% eBLs in the bulk sector by 2025 is an important step in accelerating shipping’s digital transformation. Electronic bills of lading increase efficiency, reduce costs and will reduce reliance on letters of indemnity – which is a benefit to all stakeholders.” 

“As a shipowner and operator, we are fully supportive of the 25 by 25 pledge and accelerating the shift towards electronic bills of lading,” said Julius Posselt, Head of Operations-Claims Department at Oldendorff Carriers. “We will be encouraging our counterparts to adopt eBLs and join the pledge as it will ultimately benefit everyone in the supply chain.”  

Christos Anagnostou, Star Bulk’s Operations & Insurance Director, said: “Star Bulk is very supportive of this BIMCO initiative to promote eBLs which is also in line with our company’s focus on digital transformation.”

Read more about the pledge 

BIMCO is a founding member of the FIT Alliance, a partnership between BIMCO, DCSA, ICC, SWIFT and FIATA. The Alliance collaborates on the development and adoption of relevant standards to facilitate the use of electronic bills of lading. 

Mette Kronholm Frænde
in Copenhagen, DK


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