About Us

Open eBL is a non-profit initiative dedicated to transforming supply chain operations and trade document management by establishing open-source, standards-based electronic bill of lading (eBL) solutions.

Our Mission

Our goal is to unlock significant value for all stakeholders across supply chains and propel international trade into a new era of faster processing, reduced costs, improved efficiency, greater data security, less fraud, and environmental sustainability.

Backed by founders BlueX Trade, Azarc, BT, The Center for Global Enterprise, and the Digital Supply Chain Institute (DSCI), Open eBL is managed by the non-profit DSCI, offering benefits to all participants in the supply chain who rely on bills of lading for conducting international trade.

Our Objectives

Open eBL seeks to:

(a)  Bring standards-based, open-source trade documentation under a non-profit structure to enable seemless exchange in a digital format across all supply chain stakeholders.

(b)  Drive broad adoption of the technology by building a one-stop source for supply chain services and marketplace of open-source eBL workflows with all stakeholders including global buyers, manufacturers, shipping and logistics operators, supply chain services providers and financiers.

(c)  Foster and coordinate a community of developers creating digital supply chain workflows based upon the open-source digital trade technology connecting all stakeholders.

(d)  Advocate for the use and adoption of an open-source electronic bill of lading and other trade documentation through marketing, education, and outreach; and work with other aligned organizations to accelerate implementation and public acceptance.

(e)  Become the primary trade documentation digitization hub of global supply chains, including ongoing operation, maintenance, and promotion of an open-source electronic trade documentation platform.

(f)  Demonstrate working implementations of Open eBL within 6-9 months

Why Open eBL Initiative?

The Open eBL Initiative aims to address several key challenges and capitalize on opportunities within the global trade ecosystem:

Electronic processing accelerates customs clearance and cargo release, while real-time tracking enhances visibility and transparency.

The initiative eliminates printing, shipping, and storage costs associated with paper documents, establishes an immutable audit trail, and reduces the risk of document loss, damage, and fraud.

By streamlining trade processes and enhancing integration with supply chain and finance platforms, the initiative facilitates standardization and data sharing for increased efficiency.

By reducing paper consumption and the carbon footprint associated with physical document transportation, the initiative promotes environmental sustainability.

Open eBL simplifies dispute resolution, claims processing, and access to trade finance solutions through electronic documentation.

Why Open Source?

The decision to embrace open-source principles stems from the recognition of several advantages:

Open standards and protocols foster trust and collaboration among stakeholders.

Open-source solutions are adaptable to specific needs and complex workflows.

Lower fees or even free access to software helps avoid vendor lock-in.

Community-driven development leads to rapid improvements and innovation.

A strong community ensures ongoing maintenance and support.

Open standards enhance interoperability and data exchange across platforms.

Challenges of Earlier Efforts

The failure of earlier initiatives, such as TradeLens, to achieve widespread adoption can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Competitive Concerns: TradeLens, backed by Maersk and IBM, faced resistance due to concerns about competitive advantage and control over data.
  2. Data Sharing Concerns: The success of platforms like TradeLens depends on open data sharing, but concerns about privacy, competition, and control hindered adoption.
  3. Complexity and Risk Tolerance: Complex innovations may stall progress and adoption, as seen with TradeLens.

Strategies for Success

The Open eBL Initiative is positioned to overcome these challenges and drive market adoption through the following strategies:

  1. Competitive Concerns: Establishing a non-profit under DSCI mitigates concerns about control and competition.
  2. Data Sharing and Privacy Concerns: Open-source platforms empower participants to control their own data, supported by DSCI’s expertise in security and privacy.
  3. Wider Industry Adoption: Actively engaging major players, embracing industry initiatives, and developing an open governance model encourage industry-wide participation.
  4. Compelling Value Propositions: By focusing on concrete benefits like eBL, demonstrating ROI, and creating a marketplace for third-party enhancements, the initiative aims to attract users.
  5. Flexible and Scalable Models: Tiered subscription plans, usage-based pricing, and partnerships with technology providers facilitate adoption.
  6. Legacy Systems and Paper Dependence: Robust integrations, user support, and partnerships ease the transition from paper-based processes to digital solutions.
  7. Strong Ecosystem: Attracting early adopters, encouraging collaboration, and enabling third-party development to create a valuable network effect.
  8. Adapting and Evolving: Agility and responsiveness to market feedback ensure continuous improvement and relevance.

Founding Sponsors