25 Nov 2020

British Steel makes shipping history with track shoes for China 

A recent order from China for our high-quality track shoes has made its mark in UK shipping history as we became the first shipper in the UK to be issued with an electronic bill of lading (eBL) by MSC UK.

A bill of lading is a crucial document for ensuring exporters receive payment and importers receive their goods. It is issued by a carrier once a vessel has sailed and includes details such as shipper, customer, number of goods, container/seal numbers and weight per container.

British Steel Operations Controller – Container Shipping Alex Stocks said: “Traditionally, the shipping documentation process has been paper-based, meaning that documentation must be couriered around the world, taking time and adding cost.

“In comparison, passing possession of the bill of lading electronically via secure blockchain technology takes 5 minutes, regardless of where in the world our customer is.”

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, a global leader in container shipping and logistics, confirmed the historic event had taken place at the beginning of October.

Alex said: “This is the first eBL to be issued by MSC UK – eBLs aren’t frequently issued by anyone else in container shipping and MSC UK is hoping to make them the new norm. This is a major step forward in modernising documentation process.”

An eBL can now be used if a shipment requires an original bill of lading – traditionally, cargo cannot be released by the shipping line when it arrives at its destination port without the original bill of lading being surrendered. Using an eBL, however, means the cargo can be discharged without delay.

Alex said: “Operating alongside COVID-19, issuing and receiving paper documentation has raised numerous challenges with different countries being in different stages of lockdown – using a digital solution can negate many of these issues.”

The consignment which influenced the new way of working was a total of 800 tonnes of track shoes for 2 different customers in mainland China.

Jingye Sales Manager Daniel Zhou managed the collaboration between our Special Profiles mill in Skinningrove, UK and Hebei Xing Jing Trading Division, China.

Daniel said: “Working in this way, we can deliver high-quality products to our customer warehouse in China and alleviate the end customer of all the complexities of importing and customs clearance. Hebei Xing Jing was issued with its eBL in early October, completing the shipping documentation process.”

British Steel Special Profiles Managing Director David Waine said: “This has been a fantastic collaboration all round and working with Hebei Xing Jing means that we can now service customers in China more competitively.

“I’ve been really pleased to work with Hebei Xing Jing and MSC on this and look forward to a long-lasting partnership.”