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Hydro Alunorte, an alumina refinery located in Barcarena, in the State of Pará, is innovating in the digitalization and centralization of its product shipping processes through the port of Vila do Conde. The company adopted the essDocs digital solution for preparing, approving and issuing export documents, which is the legal and functional equivalent of a paper Bill of Lading (CargoDocs). To date, three successful shipments of alumina to smelters in Europe have been carried out using essDocs.

Hydro Alunorte's port operations team has been developing this project since the beginning of 2019 and has standardized the company's procedure for application to all shipments abroad, placing itself at the forefront of document scanning for electronic submission in the alumina industry and contributing for the refinery's leadership in the world market. The initiative aims to streamline and make the issuance and delivery of Bill of Lading to end customers safer: a crucial step in foreign trade.  This achievement was made possible thanks to the combined efforts of various teams within Hydro, including Hydro Alunorte, B&A Commercial, Aluminium Metal and essDOCs.

In addition, the support of many other stakeholders outside of the organization, such as Wilhelmsen agents in Brazil was crucial to the success of this ground-breaking project.

This year, evaluations of the use of essDocs in the preparation of the Bill of Lading (BL) were concluded, which is the most important document in the foreign trade operation of the waterway modal; as well as in the stage of prior and final approvals by all parties involved in the transaction between the refinery and the customer.

Before the implementation of this digital solution, the entire process was done by email, making it difficult to trace the approval stages. While the average time for issuing the BSL was 469 hours, with essDocs the estimate is 61.5 hours (75% less), which is expected to reduce this time even further. The digital solution also allows keeping the Letter of Intent (LOI), which is the letter of intent to purchase with guarantees to the carrier that has not yet received the BSL, which is collaboratively prepared on the platform by everyone involved in the transaction. No ship arrives at its destination without documentation.

The goal is to apply essDocs to 100% of documents related to foreign trade at Hydro Alunorte. In this way, the refinery optimizes its port logistics process and reduces the need for paper consumption. “Hydro is committed to leading the industry towards a more sustainable future, including innovative and efficient projects as an industry that makes a difference. This solution can be gradually expanded to all export and import customers, with its implementation in other documents related to foreign trade”, highlights Mauricio Fiock, senior manager of port operation and maintenance at Hydro Alunorte.

The ESS project was initiated in 2019 when B&A Commercial chartered an alumina vessel from Australia to China using electronic BLs. This was the first alumina shipment using ESS docs. Following the successful trial the solution was proposed for Hydro Alunorte to Hydro Aluminium Metal smelters in Norway.

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