Crossing Oceans of Electronic Invoicing

The Ocean Freight Industry EIPP Standards Advisory Board (SAB), an independent organisation of ocean industry executives from around the world, has announced new standards guidelines in Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP). The new guidelines focus on key handling processes and required data elements for invoice and credit note presentment, in order to help the ocean freight industry enhance e-invoicing efficiency and automation in global shipping.

The EIPP guidelines were developed and finalized at the most recent meeting of the SAB, a bi- annual gathering comprised of executives from many of the leading ocean carriers and freight forwarders, which meet to discuss and tackle the top standards issues facing EIPP, and decide on next strategic steps.

EIPP helps companies overcome the complexities of ocean freight invoicing by automating the manual invoice and reconciliation process, helping to reduce disputes, improve customer service and raise overall data quality. With the application of these guidelines, the SAB aims to establish a standard for the ocean shipping industry to improve how electronic messages exchanged between parties should be prepared, transmitted and received.

The newly released guidelines, available on, are:

Invoice Processing, which starts with invoice issuance and ends with invoice acknowledgement, focusing on the exchange of electronic invoices from an invoice issuer to a payer. This supports the automation of invoice acknowledgement, routing, verification, payment and accounting, as well as tax reporting and auditing.

Credit Note Processing to simplify the process of issuing and sending electronic credit notes to correct previously-issued invoices or other credits from an ocean carrier to a shipper. This supports the automation of credit note acknowledgement, verification, and accounting, as well as tax reporting and auditing processes.

EDI messaging guidelines, which provides a standard for both mandatory and optional data elements to be transmitted, as well as a structured format (IFTFCC) for invoice and credit notes to be transmitted between invoice issuers and the payers.

“As a global logistics and transport company, we count on fast and efficient collaboration to expedite business,” said Leendert Vis, Chief Information Officer, JF Hillebrand, “and standardized processes make it easier to collaborate internally, as well as with external partners and customers. For instance, we count on electronic invoicing to avoid manual data entry and enable automated error detection when the invoice doesn’t match our anticipated charges. By establishing these guidelines for e-invoicing, we are laying the foundation for standards driving greater automation, resulting in improved cost-savings and accelerated processes.”


“The SAB is dedicated to strategically collaborating to maximize the full potential of electronic invoice presentment and payment within ocean freight shipping, and to raise awareness of our unique requirements to drive interoperability globally,” said Sherrie Orzechowski, Executive Officer of the SAB and Managing Director, Electronic Invoicing, INTTRA.  “The introduction of these important guidelines towards the adoption of a standard in the industry sets the foundation for helping enhance e-invoicing practices, and accelerate the benefits they can bring to ocean shipping in a digital world.”