Secro helps organizations and individuals to solve complex challenges in a collaborative, cost-efficient way. The flexibility and user-friendliness of our technology allows quick adoption and scalability across multiple industries and use cases
Use case #1
Financial Risk and Loss from Delayed Documentation
The Problem:A sale requiring payment to be made using a Traditional Documentary Letter of Credit (LC), payable upon presentation of original paper documents requires the mandatory presentation of the Bill of Lading to the Bank for payment to be released.
However, due to a host of different reasons, the paper Bill of Lading may not be available at the time of negotiation or potentially the paper Bill of Lading may be found to be discrepant. In such cases, the Buyer might need to request their bank to extend the Letter of Credit or request their Bank to accept a Letter of Indemnity (LOI) in lieu of the Original Bill of Lading.
Both scenarios represent a significant risk to the Trade Finance Banks involved, including potential expiration of an operational Letter of Credit, and the need to countersign an LOI to ensure payment of the LC.
Secro eBL Digital Release and TransferSecro provides a secure environment where users can efficiently create, negotiate terms, obtain approvals, and issue electronic Bills of Lading (eBLs), resulting in rapid turnaround times and ensuring the accuracy of the eBL.
Carriers can easily e-sign and release the eBL to the Shipper, who can then transfer the eBL to the Bank within minutes. Throughout this process, the original eBL is securely stored in a digital wallet called the 'Secro Vault,' ensuring rapid access and transfer. This streamlined process enables Banks to obtain security over the goods swiftly, and upon meeting the conditions, endorse and transfer the eBL to the receiver, resulting in seamless trade transactions.
Use case #2
Risk of Loss of Control of Financed Goods Due to Issuance of Letters of Indemnity for Discharge without Presentation of Original Bills of Lading
The Problem:A vessel arrives at the discharging port, yet the Original Paper Bills of Lading remain at the counters of the Financing Bank, being held as collateral until payment is received from the receiver.
As a result, the Consignee cannot surrender the Original Bill Lading to the Carrier to get the cargo released. In such circumstances, the Charterer may request the Carrier to discharge the cargo without presentation of the Original Paper Bills of Lading. The Carrier will often agree to such a request against production of a Letter of Indemnity (LOI) signed by the Charterer.
However, there is no requirement for the Carrier to seek approval from the Financing Bank or even to notify them of discharge, potentially resulting in the party holding the Bill of Lading as secure collateral losing control over the goods.
Secro eBL Digital Transfer and SurrenderingSecro eBL Digital Transfer and Surrendering drastically reduces the need for LOIs. While documents are securely stored in a digital wallet of the eBL holder, known as the 'Secro Vault,' a blockchain ledger provides non-repudiable traceability of the document’s ownership and content.
This results in a solution whereby a Financing Bank, upon receipt of payment, can immediately endorse and transfer the eBL to the Consignee. The Consignee can promptly surrender the eBL to the Carrier for cargo release, completing the entire process within minutes, a significant improvement over the days typically required for mailing paper bills of lading via courier.
Use case #3
Double Financing of Goods Against Multiple Sets of BLs for the Same Cargo in Different Banks
The Problem:With Traditional Paper Bills of Lading, we have been confronted with the risk of irresponsible actors presenting unauthorized duplicates of Original Bills of Lading to multiple Banks, seeking additional financing, and attempting to deceive both the Banks and other parties.
Trade Finance Banks were particularly impacted by this issue in 2020, with the uncovering of significant fraud being perpetrated by certain trading companies. This type of fraud can involve considerable sums of money and is inherently challenging to counter using the current paper Bills of Lading handling system.
The significant number of Financing Banks performing spot checks with services like the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which provides an extremely useful service to check on fraudulent Paper Bills of Lading, indicates how significant of an issue the Financing Banks see this as being.
Secro Digital Vault, Blockchain and EncryptionThe technical engineering behind Secro ensures the prevention of duplicated sets of electronic bills of ladings (eBLs). Each eBL is securely stored in the ‘Secro Vault’ accessible and amendable only by its current holder, ensuring exclusive control.
Through encryption, the Original eBL becomes immune to counterfeiting, forging, or duplication. Moreover, data recorded on the blockchain becomes a permanent and unchangeable entry, making it practically infeasible to duplicate eBLs.
Furthermore, parties with access to the eBL receive real-time notifications and warnings in the event of any attempted breach of security. Additionally, every copy or printed bill of lading generated through the Secro platform includes a QR-code, enabling instant verification of the documents' authenticity and update status.
Use case #4
Process Inefficiencies that Paper Bills of Lading Impose on Banks
The Problem:Paper Bills of Lading give rise to significant process inefficiencies for Banks, largely due to their manual and cumbersome nature.
Relying on physical paper documents necessitates labor-intensive tasks, such as handling, verification, and storage, resulting in suboptimal use of human resources and the potential for errors.
The manual procedures involved in indorsements and bill audits require substantial time commitments, and the inclusion of the courier process adds to the possibility of delays and associated risks.
Secro eBL Digital Vault, Indorsement, and ArchiveSecro enables Banks to receive e-bills of ladings (eBLs), accompanied by supporting documentation, directly within their dedicated digital wallet, ‘Secro Vault.’ The eBL is securely stored in this Vault accessible to the Bank's authorized users at any time.
Users have the capability to view and download copies as required. Moreover, the Bank can digitally indorse the eBL within seconds using a digital signature, ensuring irrefutable proof of the document's integrity and origin. Once the specified conditions are met, the Bank can seamlessly transfer the eBL to the receiver in a matter of seconds.
Throughout the critical steps of the transaction process, Secro automatically generates copies and versions of the eBL, storing them in the Digital Archive. This archive is easily accessible, allowing the bank to view and download copies whenever needed.
Use case #5
Identification of Parties Involved for Sanctions Compliance
The Problem:There is a considerable and increasing demand from Bill of Lading contractual parties and commodity trade financing institutions to maintain constant vigilance and ensure compliance with sanctions.
Interaction with Sanctioned Entities can result in significant liabilities for all parties engaged in the transaction, with each party holding a distinct obligation to ensure compliance. The Carrier's inability to verify the sanctions status of an Endorsee at the time of endorsing the Traditional Paper Bill of Lading may potentially subject the Carrier to substantial liability.
Secro Chain of TrustRight from the onboarding process onto the Secro platform, each legal entity and individual undergo pre-screening for identity, corporate verifications, and anti-money laundering checks.
This includes guided and real-time Know Your Business (KYB) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks to validate their identity and ascertain their sanctioned status.
Use case #6
Identification of the Consignee and the Holder of the Bill of Lading
The Problem:Traditional Paper Bills of Lading are, by their nature, designed to be transferred from one party to another as a negotiable document of title. When in possession of the Original Paper Bill of Lading, it should be possible to identify the current Consignee on the front page of the Bill of Lading, or—in the case of a negotiable Bill of Lading—through Indorsements on the back page of the document.
Anyone familiar with paper Bills of Lading understands the challenges in determining the order of indorsements when there are multiple ones, as well as verifying the complete identity of the indorse, often from handwritten text. Not to mention the lack of any standardization regarding the signature or details of the endorser.
Considering that the Traditional Paper Bills of Lading are transferred between various parties and transported by airmail couriers, it frequently becomes challenging for the involved parties to ascertain the whereabouts of the Original Paper Bill of Lading set, determine the BL Holder's identity at any given time, or establish the current Consignee/Indorse. In the absence of possession of the original document, and even when in possession of it, numerous data elements within such document must often be acknowledged without undergoing verification or authentication.
Secro Digital NotarySecro Digital Notary service digitally identifies and records all parties to the Bill of Lading, including Shipper, Carrier, Carrier’s Representative (whether it is a Master, an Agent, or a Disponent Owner), Consignee, Notify, and all Indorses.
Use case #7
Legacy e-Bill of Lading Solutions Complexity
The Problem:The current "contractual law" legal set up of legacy e-bill of lading providers requires the signature of a cumbersome multi-party (rulebook) agreement by all the participants in the transaction before issuing such a legacy Electronic Bill of Lading.
This lengthy and complex legal document leads to delays in the onboarding process and often discourages parties from proceeding with digitalization. Additionally, all parties, including financing partners, must complete onboarding before the transaction can take place, thereby limiting the use of such legacy providers in cases where flexibility is needed to accommodate changes in the Consignee or subsequent sales.
Legal Engineering and Trading Partner Email InviteSecro e-bill of lading adopts a "statutory law" legal setup, which confers legal validity to the Secro e-bill of lading without the need for a complex rulebook agreement. Regardless of the geographical location of the parties to the e-bill of lading and their chosen law and jurisdiction in the charter party, robust statutory law supports the legal validity of the Secro e-bill of lading. Therefore, customers need to sign only a very simple SaaS agreement with Secro, that requires a simplified legal compliance process. Additionally, with just a few clicks, users can invite their trade partners, such as Buyers, Suppliers, Carriers, and Agents, to join Secro at no cost.
Use case #8
Environmental Impact of Traditional Paper Bills of Lading
The Problem:When using Traditional Paper Bills of Lading, there are significant environmental impacts, including the printing of numerous Originals and corresponding copies, the dispatch of these Originals via courier (usually by air) among the various parties involved in the sale and purchase of goods, and the storage required for record-keeping purposes.
Given the inherent nature of international trade, the Original Bills of Lading are typically generated at the port of loading. Subsequently, they are sent to the Shipper, who then forwards them to their Bank for presentation to the bank of the intermediary trader. Following this, the documents are couriered to the Buyer’s bank before finally reaching the hands of the receiver, and ultimately arriving at the port of discharge for the release of the goods.
eBL Digital Release, Transfer and StorageElectronic Bills of Lading (eBLs) eliminate the need for extensive paper documentation, reducing the consumption of paper, ink, and other associated resources. This helps conserve forests and reduces the carbon footprint generated by paper production.
The Carrier can e-sign and release the eBL to the Shipper’s digital wallet, ‘Secro Vault’, who then can digitally transfer the documents to the subsequent parties. eBLs do not require physical transportation through air couriers thus minimizes greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption associated with transportation. Lastly, digital storage eliminates the need for physical document storage.
Use case #9
Loss of Traditional Paper Bills of Lading in Transit Resulting in Issuance of Letter of Indemnity and Possibly Bank Guarantee
The Problem:Given the need to send traditional Paper Bills of Lading between so many parties involved in each individual transaction, there is an ever-present risk of the Paper Bills of Lading being lost or misplaced by the courier service. In such a scenario, the transaction is placed on standby while the involved parties urgently convene to seek a resolution.
Typically, the solution entails requesting the issuance of replacement paper Bills of Lading, inevitably accompanied by a request for a Letter of Indemnity (LOI) in favor of the Carrier. Depending on the entity providing the LOI, it is not uncommon for the Carrier to demand a Bank Guarantee covering the cargo's value, a guarantee that often remains valid for a substantial duration.
The costs associated with such a situation can quickly escalate when considering the hours devoted to finding a resolution and the expenses linked to establishing a Bank Guarantee, if required. Even if a Bank Guarantee is not stipulated, the act of issuing an LOI to reissue paper Bills of Lading in lieu of lost documents presents significant risks for both the issuing and accepting parties.
Secro Digital VaultSecro provides a reliable and secure solution for the storage and management of e-bills of ladings (eBLs). The eBL is securely stored in the digital wallet, known as ‘Secro Vault,’ accessible to the Bank's authorized users at any time, and only leaves a specific ‘Vault’ when being transferred to another party.
By the very architecture, an eBL can only be cancelled when specifically agreed between the Carrier and the Consignee or accomplished when presented for discharge of cargo at the destination. The concept of a lost Bill of Lading is a concept to be confined to history.
Use case #10
Paper Bills of Lading are not Suited for Integration into Today’s Digital World
The Problem:While Traditional Paper Bills of Lading have remained essentially unchanged for at least a century, the rest of International Trade, Shipping and Trade Finance are moving rapidly into the digital age.
Vast quantities of data are being collected, stored, exchanged, and analysed throughout the various transactions and systems are being built to integrate the various aspects of the business into a seamless and efficient operation. Into this fast moving and constantly changing business environment, we find ourselves bending over backwards to allow for antiquated and insecure paper documents which do not allow for such transfer of data or correspond to today’s security requirements.
Secro API IntegrationSeparately from the generation of an electronic Bill of Lading as a negotiable trade document, the Secro system securely records all data elements of a given Bill of Lading.
This enables the interoperability of these data elements between various data systems, whether they are B2B or B2G. Secro offers a growing array of standardized APIs that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of different parties interested in automating the issuance of Bills of Lading or reusing Bills of Lading data after issuance.
Secro's REST API backend allows for tailored integration with both customer and third-party applications. Our blockchain layer is designed for seamless compatibility with other leading blockchain technologies. Additionally, we offer the flexibility to create specialized reporting and database instances to meet the specific querying needs of customers upon request.