The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Electronic bills of lading, blockchains and smart contracts

Electronic bills of lading, blockchains and smart contracts
Electronic bills of lading, blockchains and smart contracts
After a lengthy incubation period, electronic bills of lading (eBLs) are at last taking their first tentative steps in the shipping world. Systems currently in operation, however, are closed; only traders, carriers and banks who are members can participate. These closed schemes are not, therefore, true replacements for traditional paper bills of lading (pBLs), which can be used by anyone. Open eBL implementations are very difficult, which is no doubt why practical schemes so far have been closed. While blockchains and smart contracts make no difference to what is possible, they do to what is practicable. In particular, they may render feasible eBL implementations more open than those that have existed until now. They can obviate the need for distrusted central registries, and resolve the digital islands problem which can plague closed schemes.This article considers how an open eBL implementation might work. The schemes suggested here are rendered practicable by the new technology, should the industry choose to go down the eBL route. It may not so choose, at any rate in the short term, but if it does take this route, the article examines the legal obstacles that would need to be overcome. It assumes no change in the existing law, but concludes with a discussion of what lawmakers should consider, were they minded to assist.
blockchain, communications, e-commerce, electronic bills of lading, electronic payment systems, international trade, smart contracts
0967-0769
339-371
Todd, Paul
ccd4b3f3-16ae-474f-90ac-bba7d8bba9fc
Todd, Paul
ccd4b3f3-16ae-474f-90ac-bba7d8bba9fc

Todd, Paul (2020) Electronic bills of lading, blockchains and smart contracts. International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 27 (4), 339-371. (doi:10.1093/ijlit/eaaa002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

After a lengthy incubation period, electronic bills of lading (eBLs) are at last taking their first tentative steps in the shipping world. Systems currently in operation, however, are closed; only traders, carriers and banks who are members can participate. These closed schemes are not, therefore, true replacements for traditional paper bills of lading (pBLs), which can be used by anyone. Open eBL implementations are very difficult, which is no doubt why practical schemes so far have been closed. While blockchains and smart contracts make no difference to what is possible, they do to what is practicable. In particular, they may render feasible eBL implementations more open than those that have existed until now. They can obviate the need for distrusted central registries, and resolve the digital islands problem which can plague closed schemes.This article considers how an open eBL implementation might work. The schemes suggested here are rendered practicable by the new technology, should the industry choose to go down the eBL route. It may not so choose, at any rate in the short term, but if it does take this route, the article examines the legal obstacles that would need to be overcome. It assumes no change in the existing law, but concludes with a discussion of what lawmakers should consider, were they minded to assist.

Text
Todd eBL revised - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 17 November 2021.
Request a copy
Text
Todd EBL blockchain 200209 D - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Request a copy

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 November 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 February 2020
Published date: 8 February 2020
Keywords: blockchain, communications, e-commerce, electronic bills of lading, electronic payment systems, international trade, smart contracts

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436035
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436035
ISSN: 0967-0769
PURE UUID: dddc3d4d-e98d-4712-a0d1-7dbb00aa3488

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 04 Nov 2020 17:33

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×