Pandemic accelerates digitalisation of trade processes
Portall, a logistics management application, developed by Mumbai-based logistics conglomerate J M Baxi Group, was awarded a contract by the Indian Ports Association, an autonomous body under the shipping ministry, to roll out a pan-India Port Community System (PCS 1x).
A Bill of Lading (BL), the key legal document in global trade, is issued by a carrier (shipping line/ freight forwarder) to acknowledge receipt of goods, contract of carriage and document of title (ownership) of the goods.
Through the PCS1x – launched in December 2018 – the shipping ministry has digitalised a major part of port related activities including an electronic invoice (e-Invoice), electronic payment (e-Payment) and electronic delivery order (e-DO) for physical release of cargo by custodians.
The digitalisation of the bill of lading was the key component missing from the PCS 1x.
CargoX runs a smart BL document transfer platform, using the neutral, public blockchain ethereum network.
The PCS1x, offering the P-CaSo curated marketplace of specialized services, was built by Portall Infosystems, and it has integrated CargoX’s Platform for Blockchain Document Transfer (BDT), which can be accessed by the stake holders.
The Indian Port Community System has seen a three-fold rise in users since 2018, when Portall successfully won the tender to modernize the PCS. The main goal was to improve India’s ease of doing business rankings, reduce health risks, and avoid bottlenecks caused during the handling of a hitherto paper-intensive process for export-import (EXIM) cargo at ports by digitalizing the processes.
The Indian Ports Association (IPA) and trade bodies such as the Federation of Indian Logistics Association (FILA) have emphasized the importance of digitalization in light of the current global pandemic. The government. accordingly, started evaluating ways to implement electronic bills of lading, electronic delivery orders, certificates of origin, letters of credit, and other trade documentation across all EXIM transactions in India.
“We have developed the CargoX Platform for contactless, distributed online teamwork,” said Stefan Kukman, CEO and founder of CargoX.
In these times of multiple risks, we are helping shipping companies, who represent the backbone of the economy, resolve supply chain document issues and enable them to meet delivery deadlines everywhere in the world, in a secure and efficient manner, while lowering the document transfer cost,” he added.
The CargoX Platform for Blockchain Document Transfer (BDT) has been successfully tested by Portall Infosystems and India’s global shipping stakeholders to transfer electronic bills of lading.
India’s dozen state-owned ports handle approximately 60 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic. In 2019-20, that was close to 705 million tonnes of cargo, and 20,837 vessels were handled by these ports.
“We saw there was a good fit between the two companies. As a service partner, CargoX stands for values that we stand for – transparency and innovation, sophisticated yet user-friendly solutions which save cost and time without compromising on the quality of the solution,” said Manish Jaiswal, President of Portall Infosystems.
Portall is currently operational in 19 ports with over 16,000 corporate stakeholders. The B2B marketplace (P-CaSo) for the ecosystem is integrated into the Indian Port Community System to bring various niche services with curated service partners, including services such as blockchain document transfer.
To comply with the Shipping Ministry’s initiative, Portall and CargoX engaged their partners to test the CargoX Platform for EXIM with Indian companies. Proof-of-concept tests and simulations were run with various use-case scenarios, including break-bulk and container shipments, export and import from and into India.