Yellow is an early adopter of the Digital LTL Council's new electronic bills of lading standard.

Yellow is an early adopter of the Digital LTL Council's new electronic bills of lading standard.

Photo: Yellow

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association’s Digital LTL Council established a new standard for electronic bills of lading (eBOL). The standard is part of the Digital LTL Council’s efforts to advance digitization of the industry in order to improve supply chain efficiency.

The Digital LTL Council is now asking its members to pledge adoption of the standard by July 2023.

“The eBOL standard is critical in helping the industry improve overall efficiency and operational excellence,” said Geoff Muessig, chief marketing officer and vice president of Pitt Ohio and Chairman of the Digital LTL Council. “As companies in the industry pledge adoption of this standard, we know the overall impact will be a major step forward for the industry and those we partner with and serve.”

What's Difference About This eBOL Standard

While other eBOL standards have been developed for the industry, the Digital LTL Council’s standard is distinct in its ability to reduce costs and errors, improve service and communication across the supply chain via better visibility, improve overall supply chain efficiency and secure the industry through contactless/paperless transactions, council officials said in a press release.

The Pledge

Member companies are being asked to commit to the following pledge in adopting the standard:

“Whereas digitization is critically important for the elevation of the LTL freight industry, and the NMFTA and its Digital LTL Council have worked to facilitate collaboration, automation, standardization and digitization – for the reduction of paper flow and overall bettercommunication across the LTL industry – I recognize the importance of implementing an electronic bill of lading (eBOL) to achieve the highest levels of shipment outcomes and accurate invoicing, and pledge to develop and fully operationalize the eBOL with at least one business partner or 3PL, starting no later than July 20, 2023.”

Early adoption has been strong, with 29 companies taking the pledge as of October 24. Companies that have taken the pledge include Carrier Logistics, Dependable Highway Express, Old Dominion Freight Line, Saia LTL Freight, XPO, Yellow and more.

Development of the eBOL Standard

According to Paul Dugent, executive director of the Digital LTL Council, the standard is the result of a sustained team effort by industry leaders and staff at NMFTA.

“We have worked two years to develop this standard because we recognize the impact it will have on our industry and its partners and customers,” Dugent said. “As we move toward widespread adoption, we are confident the benefits will also be widespread throughout the industry.”

The new standard represents a unified move forward for an industry committed to digital excellence and determined to convert that principle into policy and action, officials said.

“Everyone understands the importance of cybersecurity and other best practices in the digital space,” said Debbie Sparks, executive director of NMFTA. “The standard we have developed here helps member organizations implement these practices structurally into their organizations in a cohesive and actionable way. This is consistent with the vision of the organization, to facilitate such progress for the entire industry.”

About the Digital LTL Council

Project44 and a diverse group of industry executives formed the Digital LTL Council in November 2019 with the intent to advance the full digitization of the LTL industry. NMFTA became the LTL Digital Council’s lead sponsor in June 2022 to bring industry expertise, dedicated resources, marketing, and legal support – in addition to the financial resources needed to accelerate the Council’s work.

Sign the pledge and download the new eBOL API here.

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