The Singaporean government has launched a one-stop trade platform to help digitise trade processing for traders, logistics companies, carriers and financiers.

Whereas nowadays there can be dozens of documents exchanged via email or even courier – taking days or weeks – the  Networked Trade Platform (NTP) is designed to bring the entire ecosystem to a single online location, where they can trade and transact with each other.

For instance, traders will be able to book services such as cargo freight, trade finance, cargo insurance, customs declaration and payment reconciliation. More than 700 companies have signed up as users of the NTP, which will also seek to accelerate innovation in trade finance.

“We will be connecting our system with the NTP to obtain digital information from traders who want to get trade finance solutions. The electronic trade information obtained from the NTP will help us to ensure data integrity as well as improve our process efficiency. We hope to see more traders signing up onto the NTP as a step to move away from paper-intensive trade,” Ginnie Chin, the CEO of Culum Capital, a trade finance platform, tells GTR.

Culum is among the 90 service providers currently being onboarded to the NTP, which currently has 25 live companies. Other companies tell GTR that talks are ongoing as to the nature of their involvement and the potential benefit they would reap.

Among those listed as active on the NTP include Nufin Data, an invoice financing platform, Hakovo, a freight quoting marketplace, and BlueJay Solutions, a documentary processing company.

The NTP will replace two existing trade facilitation platforms in Singapore, TradeXchange and TradeNet. Accenture acted as consulting partner, and continues to work with potential service providers to align their systems for onboarding.

Singapore’s government is in discussions with various other national agencies, including China Customs, with a view to connecting the NTP internationally. Singapore Customs is also in discussions with MUFG Bank and Japanese company NTT Data with a view to connecting the pair’s blockchain solution to the NTP.

NTT Data and MUFG launched their proof of concept in December 2017, with a view to “laying the foundation for a regionalised digitalised trade and supply chain platform in Asia”, initially connecting Singapore with Japan.

Furthermore, early-2019 is set to bring the launch of the Global Trade Connectivity Network, a collaboration between Hong Kong and Singapore which looks to use blockchain to digitise bilateral trade.

In October, Hong Kong’s government is set to launch its own blockchain-based platform for trade finance. ANZ, Bank of China, Bank of East Asia, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered will be the launch banks of the project. The software is being built by OneConnect, the fintech arm of Ping An Group, a Chinese insurance company. Deloitte is the consulting partner.