Digital FBL, the new generation FIATA Bill of Lading, to be launched for SAAFF Members and exporters in South Africa

Press Release
24 February 2023

Digital FBL, the new generation FIATA Bill of Lading, to be launched for SAAFF members and exporters in South Africa


Cape Town, 24 February 2023 - The introduction of the new generation digital FIATA Bill of Lading (FBL) has been confirmed and will be launched by the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) as a new standard to members and exporters for use across the Supply Chain in South Africa.
This development will positively impact supply chain efficiencies and South Africa’s competitive position as a provider of world class logistics services, says Dr Juanita Maree, Chief Executive Officer of SAAFF.
South Africa hosted the Annual Rotational Presidency meeting of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders (FIATA) in Cape Town earlier this month. The FIATA delegation, led by President Ivan Petrov had the opportunity to delve deeper into the South African supply chain logistics sector during their visit, in consultation with industry leaders. Terry Gale, representing Exporters Western Cape and the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF) welcomed the imminent introduction of the digital FBL.
Industry recognises the digital FBL and its proven tracking service as a strong solution that will add capacity and increase security of cargo movement through the entire logistics process – a valuable development in a challenging trading environment.
In global terms, the Bill of Lading is recognised as the most important document used in the transportation of goods, FIATA’s Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading is seen as the benchmark; long-standing but in constant evolution and acknowledged by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as a document fully aligned to the UNCTAD/ICC Rules for Multimodal Transport.
This new generation secured digital FBL and tracking solution allows FIATA to protect against fraudulent manipulation and to promote a digital ecosystem of trust for transport and trade documents. It supports transparency and security across the supply chain and will help member companies accelerate their digitalisation efforts. The digital FBL data model is fully aligned with the UN/CEFACT MMT Reference data model to ensure its interoperability with other standards and all trade parties.
Verifiable at any time by legitimate stakeholders interacting with the document, which dramatically reduces fraud risk, the digital FBL can be issued in digital and paper format and cannot be tampered with, with each document also being recorded on an immutable ledger. Stakeholders will be able to access the document audit trail through a unique QR code or on FIATA’s verification portal to certify the validity of the document, the integrity of its issuer and the integrity of its content.
Stéphane Graber, FIATA Director General, said “South African Members of SAAFF will soon be able to benefit from this new service which will allow them to become digital freight forwarders. FIATA is leading the realm of digital security and identification. All 40,000 members of FIATA will use the same structure and standards. This will become the new standard. We also thank SAAFF for hosting the FIATA Presidency in Franschhoek and look forward to promoting the solution in South Africa.”
The tracking solution used by FIATA for the digital FBL is already implemented and used by banks, corporates, warehouses, and inspection companies to protect other documents. Software providers worldwide make the secured digital FBL accessible in 17 territories so far through FIATA Association members. Forwarders can implement the digital FBL solution on their own in-house system or use a free digital FBL generator tool.
Dr Maree explained: “We are actively working towards overall digitalisation of our supply chain. The digital FBL has been eagerly awaited by exporters in South Africa as a tool with greater benefits for security and transparency. The digital FBL is an answer to the needs of the industry for improved access and exchange of trade documents. standardisation across different platforms is a major benefit. The use of cutting-edge blockchain technology ensures the FIATA digital FBL is secure and cannot be altered.”

 About SAAFF
The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF)
SAAFF was formed in 1921 and is an association with members throughout the Republic of South Africa. While it attends to matters of national interest, its constitution permitted regions to form chapters of the association, to deal with local issues.
The Association is a non-profit organisation governed by a constitution which provides for a board of directors, with a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. Its directors are highly experienced, senior executives from member freight forwarding companies, who are nominated and voted for by these members. A CEO reports to the Board of Directors and manages and directs the association.

Raelean Melaia & Kobie Hyman   
Tel: +27 (0)11 455 1726
Mobile: +27 81 428 6477 & +27 82 469 4561                      
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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 109 Association Members and more than 5,500 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’.
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