case studies / Protecting fragile cargo

How a shrimp exporter in India is reducing risk and saving money by going digital

Saved $500 per month in shipping and handling

Issuance to surrender reduced to three days (from three weeks)

One window to track all Bills of Lading — from 2-3 before TradeLens

59 hours from TradeLens sign-up to issuance of first eBL

We are very pleased with the TradeLens eBL process. It’s simple and straightforward, a great onboarding experience.

Avanti, Frozen shrimp exporter in India





Avanti, a frozen seafood exporter in India was shipping containers of shrimp worth $200,000 around the world in state-of-the-art refrigerated containers, or “reefers,” aboard fast ocean carriers. But despite rigorous procedure, their pricey cargo remained vulnerable to the risk of delayed, lost, or stolen Bills of Lading. This would halt the shipments and require significant urgent effort to correct the documentation and occasionally resulted in spoilage and huge losses. 

Then COVID hit, and the three-week process from Bill of Lading issuance to cargo release became chaotic. Labor disruption, suspension of courier services and grounded flights created serious disruption and risk for the exporter and their consignees in New York. 

“Not only did the exporter and consignees lack the visibility on the whereabouts of their BLs, they also didn’t know when the cargo would reach their destinations,” explains TradeLens Project Lead, Ajay Pai.


It was time to act. Like many exporters across different industries, Avanti understood the potential of a digital Bill of Lading. They understood that going digital would enable easy movement of their BLs and their shipments amidst the turmoil caused by COVID. They also needed a rapid implementation. 

They spoke to TradeLens and signed up. 59 hours later, the exporter and their New York-based customs broker had their first eBL issued by the carrier to the exporter’s account on the TradeLens web platform. 


TradeLens cut out weeks of time from the process of physically sending and receiving a Bill of Lading.
The new, simpler Bill of Lading workflow reduced the steps from 8 to 4:
Step 1
The carrier executes and issues the eBL to the exporter’s TradeLens account.
Step 2
The exporter opens the folder and checks that everything is in order.
Step 3
The exporter clicks a button to transfer the eBL to their U.S. agent.
Step 4
The U.S. agent clicks a button to surrender the eBL to the carrier, who in turn provides the cargo release.
Avanti gained clear visibility of their BLs status and location in the journey. 
But getting the exporter through the havoc caused by the pandemic was only the beginning.
The TradeLens eBL sped the process from 3 weeks to three days. The biggest time savings came from the elimination of the air courier leg, which also saved the exporter as much as $50 per BL for a potential savings of over $5,000 per year.
Avanti gained access to the TradeLens Core Shipment Manager, which enabled them to check a single window to track BLs rather than visiting carrier and courier sites for information or having to exchange phone calls or emails to confirm status.
No one can steal an eBL and the chance of a BL getting lost is now completely eradicated.
Within a month, Avanti moved all their Bills of Lading to TradeLens eBL.

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