About Claims and Realities of Digitization in Current Maritime Transportation Chains

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


‘Digitization’ refers to converting analogue into digital data for further processing by electronic means. The broader concept ‘digitalization’ stands for increasing applications of digital technologies by organizations, industries or societies. While the first term refers to an underlying condition for it, the latter has gained significant attention as digitalization of nearly all aspects in supply chains, including maritime shipping. But reality bites when this has to put into practice. Therefore, we want to strive a sober view on the mentioned conditions, i.e. the ‘digitization’ and thus availability of documentary paperwork in some digital form, before we show the current context and status of approaches to digitalize them in paperless trade environments. In sum, our analysis shows huge deficits when it comes on negotiable bills of lading, despite the overall legal foundation enabling paperless trade environments is developing rapidly. This outcome stems from the fact that applicable transport law simply do not facilitate ‘digitization’ and/or implementation efforts of ‘digitalization’ are hindered by inherent operational risks and liability burden or actors involved who are not willing or able to adapt to the evolving new digital reality yet.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists, IAME 2017 - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 29 Jun 201730 Jun 2017
Conference number: 25


ConferenceThe Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists, IAME 2017
Internet address


  • Maritime transportation chains
  • Documentary paperwork
  • Digitization
  • Digitalization
  • Bill of lading

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