e-Bills of Lading


BIMCO has developed and published an electronic bill of lading standard (eBL Standard) for the bulk shipping sector. Our goal is to help accelerate the digitalisation process by establishing common industry standards for electronic bills of lading.

The eBL Standard is a structured dataset consisting of 20 predefined data fields that are common to bulk shipping bills of lading.

Download the standard in Excel or PDF format.

Issuing bills of lading electronically has been possible for more than 20 years. Despite the availability of safe and well-established platforms that have been approved by the International Group of P&I Clubs, less than 2% of seaborne world trade is carried on electronic bills of lading (eBL). One of the obstacles to wider acceptance of eBLs that has been identified is that it is currently not possible to transfer an eBL from one approved platform to another, ie a lack of interoperability. This is a particular issue for trade finance banks wanting to transition from paper bills to eBLs as it requires training of staff in the use of multiple platforms, despite the very low volume of eBLs. Transferring an eBL between platforms requires that the eBL is in the same digital language by adopting a technical standard. So, the first step is developing and applying such a standard.

BIMCO is a founding member of the FIT (Future International Trade) Alliance, a cross-industry coalition of organisations working together to produce open standards for electronic trade documents. BIMCO’s eBL Standard is aligned with the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport Reference Data Model as well as the standards produced by DCSA and FIATA.

The BIMCO eBL Standard’s design is consistent with bills of lading used in the bulk sector, for example, CONGENBILL. This means that the underlying framework applies equally to BIMCO’s various bills of lading and other bulk bills of lading, for example house bills. The standard is freely available to any electronic bill of lading solution provider.


Infographic describing the advantages of e-bills of lading

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    BIMCO eBL Standard Version 1.0 Excel format 0.4 MB

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    BIMCO eBL Standard Version 1.0 PDF 0.1 MB

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VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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