News from Santos and Baixada Santista

“New digital technologies in maritime trade and developments in the insurance market” was the topic of the seventh panel of the 5th Congress of Maritime and Port Law ABDM, this Friday (16th) morning. The event is held at the Sheraton Hotel in Santos.

The table was chaired by Ingrid Zanella, vice president of the OAB Pernambuco Section and president of the Special Commission for Maritime and Port Law of the OAB Federal Council, and moderated by Bernardo Mendes Vianna, lawyer and vice president of the Brazilian Association for Maritime Law (ABDM).

Erick Tavares, Sales Manager in charge of Commercial Administration and Digitization Initiatives, spoke about the advancement of new technologies in the international scenario to reduce red tape in maritime trade.

“In the past, you had to convince all the players, including the owner, that you had to use the platform. When we started in 2013, we had a big challenge, it was very difficult to conclude the equation. Today we have come a long way and we can see, when there is a lot of competition in the market, with seven platforms that are already internationally recognized, that there has been a very interesting increase in productivity. Bringing this idea to your salespeople was a game changer, we started to see a huge improvement in our ability to convince customers. I think it’s important to break this stigma, always trying to innovate,” said Erick.

Kátia Oliveira, representative of the Steamship Mutual P&I Club in Brazil, pointed out that the transparency of the platform is essential for the functioning of the electronic BL (electronic bill of lading).

“Electronic BL has proven to be a safe, modern, fast and economical alternative for the natural evolution of goods transaction means. From the moment you start using the electronic platform, the whole system is much faster. That’s the solution. Through the platform, all parties involved in the process can see where the cargo is at any time. Several players meet during the process, knowing the path of the load, and this is the certainty that everyone wants to have,” said Kátia.

The tax auditor of the Federal Tax Service of Brazil, Sérgio Garcia da Silva Alencar, pointed out that the agency maintained the need to present the original documents for the transport of cargo in response to the request of companies from the port sector, but he pointed out that the trend is to definitively withdraw the paper so that everything is resolved electronically.

“In 2017, we returned with this item (paper) because it was a request from the sector. The depositary is obliged to keep this document for five years, and can present a copy of the original. But the Tax Administration already uses an electronic document, for us we already have information through a virtual environment. We have an electronic control that we created. We no longer require physical presentation of the document. The problem we have is the lack of electronic BL. As each international platform has its own data model, it is impossible for the Tax Administration to encounter several different models”, he believes.

Carlos Augusto Cabral, director of Representações Proinda and member of the Brazilian Association of Maritime Law (ABDM), accepted the hook from the auditors of the Federal Tax Service to emphasize the need to solve old problems in order to speed up this process of implementing new technologies.

“We deal with the future, but we have something from the present, a legacy from the past, that we have to solve. Exporters send their cargo and believe they will receive it. Without a BL conference, the load will not be released. The Chinese importer sends the cargo, it comes here, the importer collects the taxes and yet the BL is with the exporter. Somehow, the Brazilian importer removes the cargo, and the exporter ‘watches the ships’. ABDM has a group of people working on the ground and so we have a partnership with Unisant. I want to encourage university students to study this topic and offer solutions, bringing their ideas to ABDM so that a real discussion can take place. We have to go into the future, but we have to solve some problems that still exist in the present,” commented Cabral.

Luis Felipe Galante, president of ABDM, sees technology as an important mission to facilitate maritime and port commercial transactions in the future. “Forwarding companies pay a small amount for the issuance of these paper documents. We also have a fraud problem. The situation of our panel, with the arrival of modern technologies, is also placed in this context. It is important to point out that this role should not be confused with the invoice invoice or with the electronic knowledge that exists in the system. But this technology brought here solves the three main shortcomings of maritime transport in one fell swoop. Greater transparency, management cost – which is mitigated – and fraud is virtually impossible – the document password will only be delivered if there is a security breach that allows access to the password. But we are not at that stage yet. We still have a long way to go in that direction in Brazil,” he explained.

The 5th ABDM Maritime and Port Law Congress is an initiative of the Brazilian Maritime Law Association (ABDM) and is jointly hosted by the University of Santa Cecília (Unisanta) and the Santa Cecília Communication System.

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