Title: Electronic Bills of Lading: Electronic Signatures and Analysis of Acknowledgement of Receipt
Electronic bills of lading are mainly data contained in bills of lading transmitted electronically. Since the cost is down and the speed is up, almost all parties involved welcome electronic bills of lading to avoid the disadvantages of paper bills of lading. Comité Maritime International (CMI) rules for electronic bills of lading and Bolero Rulebook all are based on agreements between parties. These rules also define procedures for acknowledgement of receipt in electronic bills of lading, such as acceptance, rejection, and no acknowledgement. These rules do not bind third parties who do not agree to these rules. A more comprehensive approach is to adopt the recent legal framework of electronic commerce (EC) in each country, which can reduce the steps to achieve the agreements between parties for rules of electronic bills of lading and then speed up maritime electronic transactions. The legislation in each country usually refers to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on EC. However, it is varied in countries whether the legal framework of EC applies to bills of lading. In this paper, we first discuss regulations in several countries and whether CMI rules for electronic bills of lading conform to electronic signatures. Secondly, starting from regulations in Taiwan and Model Law on EC, we discuss acknowledgements of receipts in related rules of CMI and Bolero at issuing and transferring electronic bills of lading. We then make a comparison between these rules. Finally, we propose recommendations on regulations and practices of electronic bills of lading in Taiwan.
Key Words: Electronic Data Interchange, electronic commerce, electronic signatures, acknowledgement of receipt, maritime.