An international consortium has successfully executed “the world’s first entirely digitalised cross-border movement of goods”.
Originating at Fort Vale’s site in Burnley, valves and fittings used in the chemical logistics industry were transported to the manufacturer’s facility in Singapore without the use of any paper documents.
The consortium responsible for this feat consists of organisations including Fort Vale, LogChain, BT, Singapore Airlines, and the British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.
According to LogChain, making the process fully-digitalised resulted in a 85% reduction in paperwork and an 89% reduction in logistics processing time.
Andrew McKeown, Chief Executive of LogChain, said: “This is a historic moment, not only for LogChain but for the global trade as a whole. Our successful digitalised shipment from the UK to Singapore marks a significant step towards a new era, one where efficiency, transparency, and security are at the forefront.
“We are proud to be part of this transformation and will continue to work diligently to innovate and lead in this space. This achievement underscores the power of collaboration and ecosystem thinking, not only between private companies but countries as well.”
This was made possible by the Electronic Trade Documents Act (ETDA), which came into force in the UK just days ago having received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023. The ETDA enables many electronic documents relating to international to be given “the same legal recognition and functionality” as paper documents, meaning more electronic documents can be used effectively.
The official policy objective of the bill – now law – was “to allow for certain trade documents in electronic form that satisfy specific criteria to be recognised in law as capable of possession, so that they can have the same legal treatment, effects, and functionality as their paper counterparts”.
It is hoped that doing this will lead to “significant cost savings and efficiencies, increased transparency, increased security, reduced errors, and greater resilience to the impact of sudden shocks such as Covid-19”.
Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for the United Kingdom, commented: “The Electronic Trade Documents Act is a game-changer in our efforts to bring trade into the 21st century. From 20 September 2023, every company using English law worldwide can remove paper from the transaction process and all the associated red tape and bureaucracy which we know is a major barrier to trade for SMEs.”
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