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Trafigura and DBS Bank launch blockchain trade platform

DBS and Trafigura have unveiled ICC TradeFlow, a new blockchain trade platform that can cut end-to-end trade document transit times by “more than half”.

Singapore’s DBS Bank and Trafigura have announced the launch of ICC TradeFlow, a new open-sourced blockchain trade platform. Developed in conjunction with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore and Singaporean tech firm Perlin, the new platform seeks “to connect trade partners across borders and streamline manual paper-based trade processes to improve trade flows”, with an initial pilot trade, a consignment of US$20m worth of iron ore, set to be shipped from Africa to China this month.

Built on the IMDA’s TradeTrust network infrastructure and powered by Perlin’s blockchain technology, the platform, Trafigura says, is designed to be interoperable with existing and future digital trade platforms.

This approach, it continues, will enable companies based in digital harbours like Singapore to continue seamlessly trading with countries governed by traditional paper-based systems. At the same time, all parties on the blockchain platform will also be able to send, receive and act upon trade instructions in real-time, cutting the end-to-end trade document transit time by more than half, from 45 to 20 days.

The companies involved said that following the success of this initial pilot they will continue iterating and improving the ICC TradeFlow platform, with a vision for global adoption.

Among other planned enhancements, they intend to expand the platform’s capabilities to include offering trade finance on-the-go as well as providing background information and credit ratings on trade participants, ships and couriers to foster trust among counterparties.

“We are certain that blockchain will help drive the digitalisation of trade and transfer of title electronically,” Perlin CEO Dorjee Sun is quoted as saying when the companies made the announcement.

“This will revolutionise trade, commodities and related finance and Singapore is at the forefront. We built ICC TradeFlow as the first working enterprise tool powered by TradeTrust with the vital help of our partners, such as DBS and Trafigura, and are excited to work with the ICC for global adoption.”

Meanwhile, Trafigura reports that the IMDA is spearheading the development of TradeTrust as a globally trusted network for the digital exchange of trade documentation. To achieve this, the IMDA is thus working with a number of Singaporean government agencies and industry partners, including the Singapore Shipping Association, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Customs and the Government Technology Agency.

“Conventional digitalisation efforts have given rise to increasingly fragmented digital ecosystems consisting of silo groups of user communities,” Trafigura says. However, TradeTrust “works within this reality by enabling various enterprise and platform systems to effectively inter-operate” and in so doing “enable [a] more seamless and efficient flow of goods between digitally inter-connected trading partners”. This trusted network, it continues, “aims to reduce inefficiencies and complexities of cross-border trade arising from the current usage of paper-based documentation, such as bills of lading”. This, it asserts, reduces both operating costs and the risk of fraud while promoting the growth of trade.

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.

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