Singapore officially launches digital platform to ease supply chain data flow

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Singapore has officially launched a centralised data platform that it says will streamline information flows across a fragmented global supply chain. The data exchange already has garnered at least 70 participants that include logistics operators, banks, and energy companies. 

Called Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex), the common data platform was first introduced in November 2020 as a pilot that aimed to improve data efficiencies in container flow and financial processes. The project is led by Alliance for Action (AFA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation, one of seven industry groups the government had established to identify and prototype new ideas to drive the local economy. The other alliances focus on key growth areas such as robotics, e-commerce, and environmental sustainability.

SGTraDex is described as a “common data highway” to facilitate information exchange between proponents across the supply chain ecosystem, providing “trusted, secure, and inclusive” access. The platform uses proprietary technology to plug gaps in supply chains, which traditionally had relied heavily on a paper-based system that lacked efficiency, transparency, and sustainability. 

It verifies documents using the TradeTrust framework and distributed ledger technology, providing participants with proof of authenticity and origins of the documents exchanged on SGTraDex. Built on blockchain technology, TradeTrust is touted as a common infrastructure to enable secured exchange of digital documentation between trade partners, including government agencies and private organisations. 

Digitising data flows would boost supply chain resilience and productivity, enabling new opportunities as partners in the ecosystem would have common visibility of the entire supply chain, SGTraDex. 

The data platform is touted to “unlock” at least $100 million in value, by 2026, for participants through cost savings from better efficiency, optimised use of assets, and faster access to financing. 

More than 70 participants were announced alongside its launch, including DBS Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Trafigura, Jurong Port, Pacific International Lines, Ocean Network Express, ExxonMobil Asia-Pacific, and Chevron.

SGTraDex lists 11 organisations as its founders, which include Singapore’s ICT regulator Infocomm Media Development Authority, PSA, OCBC Bank, and Oiltanking. 

Amongst use cases it cited, SGTraDex said the platform would ease data exchange between shipping lines, hauliers, and port operators to improve planning and increase asset utilisation. This market segment traditionally faced challenges with limited and slow access to data, resulting in congestion at ports and other transport nodes. 

Several pilots were run on SGTraDex over the past year, including a live bunker delivery financing transaction carried out with an electronic bunker delivery note. Participants in this pilot included DBS, TFG Marine, Ocean Network Express, and Ascenz.

SGTraDex Services CEO Antoine Cadoux said: “Digitalisation has transformed many sectors, but in the global supply chain and trade sector, its promise has yet to materialise. The physical exchange of paper remains the norm. 

“We believe the plug-and-play digital infrastructure we have created at SGTraDex will go a long way to make it easy for all participants to share data under an agreed set of rules,” Cadoux said. “Our goal at SGTraDex is to enable global trade to happen more quickly, more reliably, and with higher integrity.”

SGTraDex Technologies CEO Liau Eng Soon added that participants would have “complete autonomy” in the types of data they shared with their ecosystem partners. “No one will be forced to share confidential information,” Liau said.

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