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Blockchain-based bill of lading initiative launched by Singapore authorities

Thu 07 Mar 2019 by Ed Martin

Blockchain-based bill of lading initiative launched by Singapore authorities
Trade processing and documentation are estimated to add up to 20% to the physical cost of shipping a single container, says IMDA

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and MPA are partnering up to lead development of Singapore’s TradeTrust initiative for the maritime sector through development of electronic bills of lading (EBLs).

Announcing the pilot in Singapore’s parliament on 4 March, Minister for Commnications and Information S Iswaran said “TradeTrust is an initiative to develop a set of standards to help businesses securely exchange digital trade documents.

TradeTrust will aim to reduce inefficiencies and complexities of cross-border trade that arise from paper-based documents such as traditional bills of lading. It will comprise a set of governance and legal frameworks, standards and future-ready digital infrastructure and will be supported by distributed-ledge technology, also known as blockchain, to give participants proof of authenticity and provenance for documents exchanged.

IMDA said the maritime sector could be the first industry to benefit from the initative, with trade processing and documentation estimated to add up to 20% to the physical cost of shipping a single container.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between IMDA, MPA, Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) in January 2019 affirming support for the initiative. IMDA and MPA will take the lead in developing TradeTrust for EBLs, with Singapore Customs and SSA providing support.

Working together with government and industry, the initial focus of the inititiative will be on developing digital infrastructure, promoting EBLs and carrying out technical trials to demonstrate interoperability of EBLs across different digital ecosystems.

IMDA will organise industry consultation workgroups with the maritime trade, logistics and finance sectors to gather feedback on the initiative, and will issue a reuqest for proposal to invite industry proposals on technical implementation of TradeTrust infrastructure.


Supply-chain platform aims to facilitate trade and make shipping more efficient

PSA has partnered with a subsidiary of CrimsonLogic, GeTS and other partners, launching a digital global trade-facilitation and supply chain ecosystem.

The platform is called Calista, an initialism for Cargo Logistics, Inventory Streamlining and Trade Aggregation, and is aimed at facilitating trade and increasing transparency for those involved in the shipping and logistics supply chain.

It brings together both non-physical, such as financial and regulatory, and physical activities of logistics in a digital ecosystem aimed at serving the entire community of stakeholders in the logistics chain.

Through using digital technologies the project aims to streamline the supply chain by interacting with stakeholders’ systems, reducing data duplication, improving the authenticity of data flow and generally streamlining processes, documentation and data as goods move within and across countries and regions.

The goal is for manufacturers to have direct increased visibility of their goods in transit, and to enable logistics service providers to work together on developing supply chain solutions that add value for customers.

Building on GeTS’ existing global trade connectivity offerings, Calista will work with other national trade, regulatory and supply chain platforms.

Strategic partners along the global supply chain will be sought, and partnerships have already been forged with Singapore agencies including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Economic Development Board and the National Trade Platform. DBS Bank is providing financial and banking technology services to the partnership.

PSA group chief executive Tan Chong Meng said “Greater cargo flow visibility and improved co-ordination benefits everyone, from manufacturer to consumer.”

DBS Bank chief executive Piyush Gupta said “We are […] honoured to play our part in supporting the digitalisation of the shipping and logistics industries. With cross-border trade growing and Asian enterprises doing more business internationally, Singapore is well-placed to lead the charge in digitalising trade financing solutions.”

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