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Paper Risks, Fraudulent Bills of Lading

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The risks associated with paper bills of lading are highlighted following the discovery by the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of fraudulent Bills of Lading for shipments into Nigeria

The Bills of Lading covered small quantities of consumer products carried in containers due to be shipped into Lagos and all featured the logos of major carriers.

IMB enquiries found that that the shipments had taken place on board the stated vessels, between the stated ports, however, the shipments had taken place up to three months prior the stated dates and often with carriers different to those on the presented Bills of Lading.

IMB Deputy Director Michael Howlett commented: “This recent spate of suspicious documents emphasises the need for banks to carry out thorough checks, even on those transactions which appear to be genuine. In these cases, the information did relate to a shipment of the correct containers to the correct ports on the stated vessels. The problem was, however, that it had all happened months before the dates mentioned on the bills of lading and, in all likelihood, has been designed to wrongly draw funds under the documentary credit system.”

Secure electronic communications are clearly the answer to this longstanding problem and essDOCS CargoDocs™ Services now provide a viable alternative. Security is a core element of the essDOCS-Databridge™ eDocs Exchange. For example, external penetration testing and functional application security testing is undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCooper at least annually. Our commitment to security is further supported by essDOCS eRisks insurance, which provides cover of up to $20 million per eB/L for any loss caused by eCrime (i.e. a fraudulent interaction with an eB/L or interference with a user’s right of control through hacking, password mining, etc.). Your electronic bills of lading will therefore be secure and the risk of fraudulent bills a thing of the past.

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