Bolero System

The faster movement of cargo means that the chances are continually increasing of the cargo arriving well before the B/Ls have worked their way through the banking system.  There are many initiatives seeking to solve this problem by the use of electronic alternatives to paper bills of lading. For example it is now possible for a shipper to be connected to a computer to receive all the information it needs via satellite or telephone lines. Most combined transport operators now process their own cargo arrangements by computer. A shipowner could give irrevocable instructions to a carrier to hold goods for the disposition of a named consignee, who would then be entitled to receive the goods at the port of destination solely on the basis of the instruction and without the need to produce any document. Security is achieved by issuing to each consignee a unique “private key” putting the holder in the same position as if it had possession of the original bills of lading. The major problem still rests with the use of letters of credit and the need to permit ‘selling cargoes on’ without any loss of security.  The “Bolero” system is the most advanced in this regard and pilot schemes are in operation but the systems are not developed enough to be within the scope of this course at present.