FIATA attends UNCITRAL webinar on the dematerialization of negotiable transport documents

Changes at the FIATA Headquarters

FIATA bids farewell to Ms Barbara Wieser, Head of Administration, who has retired after ten years of service at the organization. Ms Wieser wore many hats at FIATA, managing multiple administrative tasks and serving as the focal point for membership matters for many years. Among her duties, Ms Wieser provided administrative support to the FIATA Foundation, an activity where she will remain active for the time being. FIATA thanks Ms Wieser for her commitment to her work and wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavours. Should members have administrative enquiries, they can direct them to Emmanuela Simantirakis and Vanessa Villa, Administration Officers. 

Following the decision taken at the 2019 General Meeting, the move of the FIATA HQ office to Geneva is now complete and the Zurich office is now closed. Please note that FIATA’s mailing and phone details have changed. For future enquiries, please contact the FIATA Headquarters at:

Rue Kléberg 6 | 1201 Geneva | Switzerland | +41 22 715 45 45 info@fiata.com 

INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND LAW

FIATA attends UNCITRAL webinar on the dematerialization of negotiable transport documents

On 13-14 April, the UN Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) conducted an online webinar on ‘International experiences with the dematerialization of negotiable transport documents’, to which FIATA, through its Advisory Body on Legal Matters (ABLM), participated. UNCITRAL plays an active role on the development of negotiable multimodal transport documents and their dematerialization into electronic and digital documents, taking into account the multimodal aspects of the supply chain, and the need for their interoperability. The webinar had crucial discussions which provided excellent food for thoughts on current challenges and obstacles faced by industry stakeholders regarding the issuance of Electronic Transferable Records (ETR), with a specific focus on Bills of Lading.

The meeting further addressed the legal uncertainty surrounding transferrable documents/instruments based on significant differences in national jurisdictions, together with possible solutions such as including contractual legal frameworks and the enactment of the Model Law on Electronic Transferrable Documents by States. By leveraging on the existing regional projects on electronic transport documents, such as the development of the e-Air Waybill and the electronic CIM/SMGS consignment note, it evidenced the increased reliance on dematerialization of trade documents and the substantial benefits such processes can bring to both the freight forwarding industry and the trade and banking sector.

Discussions on AEO take place at the WCO SAFE Working Group 25th session

The 25th session of the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Working Group took place in virtual format on 14-16 April, and provided a valuable occasion to exchange on key topics for the supply chain, in particular Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programmes and e-commerce. Crucially, it provided an opportunity to consider the proposals for the SAFE Framework of Standards Review Cycle 2021, which have been discussed under the auspices of the SAFE Working Group, to which FIATA participated and shared its comments.

A significant number of WCO members continued to voice concerns, in line with FIATA’s position, as to proposals to include additional requirements for AEOs to implement measures in relation to aspects such as pest contamination, social compliance labour policies, and Employee Codes of Conduct. Notwithstanding that these are important goals to pursue, as stated by FIATA and reiterated by certain other WCO members, it is key to ensure that AEO meets the needs of simplicity and transparency from the SAFE Framework objective, and that requirements are suitable for companies of all sizes. Moreover, as submitted by FIATA, supply chain security and safety mean different things to different regulators and this needs to be balanced with coordinated border management and trade facilitation, to ensure viability and lay the foundation for mutual recognition efforts. Given the lack of consensus on this topic, it was decided that discussions on this proposal would be moved to the next review cycle. FIATA welcomes this outcome in the interests of ensuring that AEO companies are able to reap the intended benefits of AEO certification and facilitating the smooth flow of international trade.

DIGITAL TRENDS

New software provider joins eFBL proof of concept

The proof of concept (POC) for the digital FIATA Bill of Lading (eFBL) is well underway and all is on track. eCustoms is now joining the five software providers already participating in the POC (AKANEA, Bolero, CargoX, eDox Online, and Cargowise). In addition, 15 freight forwarding companies and FIATA Associations Members have been fully onboarded. A first draft of the eFBL standard has been made available to the software providers, together with the APIs specifications to connect to FIATA’s solution. The user tests, which will allow to assess the full lifecycle of the document from its creation by freight forwarding companies to its reception and verification by the different stakeholders, are planned to take place in June. Stay tuned for more information on the progress of the POC.

 

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