This is the first article in the Polish literature dedicated to this topic of increasing interest. Currently, the bill of lading is not regarded as a valuable document by the 200 largest loaders. The speed of transport also means that the bill of lading is useless and has been replaced by maritime cargo letters.There remain, however, certain areas of trade in which the bill of lading is a necessary document. Therefore, steps have been taken to computerize its issue and transfer. It is uncertain if the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules apply to the electronic bills of lading. The Hamburg Rules permit an electronic signature on bills of lading, provided that this is not in contradiction with the law of the country in which the bill of lading is issued. In order to ensure that the use of the electronic bill of lading will not be questioned in international trade, it must be clearly stated in an international convention. In 2000, the CMl presented UNCITRAL with a proposal for a new convention on maritime cargo transport, with the electronic documentation of transport rules, including electronic bills of lading. Work on this convention is in progress.
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