2024 FIATA HQ Meeting: The Standardised Path to Digitalisation

Press Release
24 April 2024

Geneva, 24 April 2024 – FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is proud to share the release of the Key Trade Documents and Data Elements (KTDDE) report, by the International Chamber of Commerce Digital Standards Initiative (ICC DSI), to which FIATA was a key contributor. 

Released today, the KTDDE report collates 36 key trade documents needed to standardise the international trade ecosystem, identified in the Cross-border Paperless Trade Toolkit published by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). 

The KTDDE report is the result of a collaborative project between international trade experts under the auspices of the ICC DSI over the course of 18 months. FIATA was a key contributor to the report, providing inputs on key trade documents, such as the FIATA Warehouse Receipt (FWR), the Sea Waybill, and the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction. The report unifies the approach to data across the supply chain and provides a source of reference for all industry stakeholders by creating the foundations for digital trust at scale in the interests of developing common standards based on United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) data model, and fostering interoperability.

FIATA, through synergistic industry collaborations and common goals, has positioned itself as a catalyst for digital standardisation across the supply chain and logistics industry, and is leading the way with digitalisation of transport documents with its Digital FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (eFBL). As part of its efforts to facilitate interoperability, FIATA cooperates closely with several global stakeholders in the supply chain. Among others, FIATA is an advisory board member of the ICC DSI, which is aimed at fostering a globally harmonised digital trade environment by addressing manual data cycles and related inefficiencies, as well as recognition by applicable legal systems. In addition, FIATA is a founding member of the Future of International Trade (FIT) Alliance and is participating closely in digitalisation initiatives with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and projects with shipping lines. With the eFBL already in use worldwide by freight forwarders in their day-to-day operations, FIATA is leading the path to digitalisation and is committed to promoting interoperability through its various industry collaborations.

FIATA also hosted on the second day of its HQ meeting a dedicated session of the FIT Alliance, which unites BIMCO, Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Swift and FIATA. The objectives of the FIT Alliance to standardise the digitalisation of international trade were introduced, including its aims to facilitate interoperability, and foster the acceptance and adoption of the electronic Bills of Lading (eBL) by all stakeholders involved in an international trade transaction. The FIT Alliance’s aim to accelerate adoption of a standards-based electronic bill of lading (eBL) across all sectors of the shipping industry is encapsulated in its eBL Declaration, which encourages companies to signal their readiness to drive digitalisation in international trade. 

During the session, FIATA Director General, Dr Stéphane Graber, called upon the freight forwarding industry to consider initiatives for the widespread global adoption of the eFBL. FIATA's efforts to globalise the eFBL through its extensive network of FIATA Association Members, enhancing industry value with a trusted network, standardised interoperability, and streamlined business operations were highlighted. FIATA continues to work with all stakeholders across the supply chain, including industry actors and governmental authorities, to foster effective and secure data exchange in international trade around the world. If you are interested in starting your eFBL journey and becoming a digital Freight Forwarders, please contact [email protected]


FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations is a non-governmental, membership-based organisation representing freight forwarders in some 150 countries. FIATA’s membership is composed of 114 Associations Members and more than 6,000 Individual Members, overall representing an industry of 40,000 freight forwarding and logistics firms worldwide. Based in Geneva, FIATA is ‘the global voice of freight logistics'.