This issue’s cover story (pardon our French) is about the Hanjin Shipping crisis, the effects of which, our writer says, will permeate the industry for years to come. The South Korean shipping company’s failure is unprecedented, and we anticipate a global shake-up of the shipping industry, which for years has been plagued by overcapacity and ongoing losses.

The fallout has been yet another reality check for the world of trade in a year that has been rife with talk of disruption.

Whether it’s mobile banking, new payment technologies, auction-based online marketplaces or blockchain, the financial sector has its work cut out for it when it comes to staying on top of disruptive technology. There have been so many announcements related to distributed ledger technology, in particular, of late that it’s been difficult to cut through the bull“ship”. Our fintech feature rounds-up the recent key consortiums and accelerator programmes.

Industry experts that we talk to say that it’s all very well and good for companies to be developing their own proprietary platforms, but that there’s probably only room for one or two enterprise platform technologies: the rest will likely be killed off. In fact, as this magazine goes to press, in a surprise move, banking consortium R3 has just announced that it is open-sourcing its Corda platform and making the code available to the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger platform, thereby shaking up the blockchain game. Perhaps, as the various platforms are whittled down, the end result will echo the rivalry between Apple (iPhone, proprietary) and Google (Android, open)?

Technology aside, banks are also having to deal with the likes of the GAFAs (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) of the world: firms that are building out their own trade finance capabilities. For one, Amazon earlier this year launched its seller lending programme, though which it provides working capital loans to sellers on its platform. It recently partnered with Yes Bank to provide sellers with unsecured financing at competitive rates to help them fund their stock purchases. Alibaba has been providing trade finance services to its buyers for more than a year.

As these companies infiltrate the market, is this where future disruption will come from? How many more wake-up calls can the industry handle?

In this issue: