Cargill and Agrocorp have completed their first cross-continent commodity trade finance transaction using the dltledgers blockchain platform. The transaction, which settled on April 1, involved a US$12mn wheat shipment from North America to Indonesia. Financed by Rabobank, the deal saw the two agri-commodity traders participate alongside shipowner Amarante and shipping agent Transmarine, on a common blockchain platform.

The transaction was settled in five days, whereas traditional trading processes can take up to a month. “Consensus-driven smart contracts in this deal minimised our time spent on processing documents by more than half,” say Rabobank’s key facilitators, Mario Cortinhal in North America and Olivier De Jong in Singapore.

Based on Hyperledger Fabric, the dltledgers platform enables trading companies to connect to their supply chain network and digitalise trade processes and financing documentation. Smart contracts allow traders to automate the creation of trade flows and build a digitally signed consensus framework among multiple parties – particularly useful as exporters, banks and shippers look for ways to continue operations within the global constraints of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“What’s interesting here is that each transaction can include multiple unconnected counterparties, represent tens of millions of dollars, and involve the registration of hundreds of different data points into the platform,” says Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Hyperledger Consortium. “The numbers are truly impressive, but what’s more remarkable is that this is not a proof-of-concept, but real production use.”

Cross-border commodity trading has proven to be one of the most promising sectors for blockchain, which allows for real-time monitoring by multiple parties, dispenses with concerns about data ownership, and simplifies the exchange of documents in a digital, secure and decentralised manner.

Last year, a similar transaction on the dltledgers platform saw Standard Chartered and global food manufacturer IFFCO Singapore (ISPL) carry out a palm oil shipment from Asia to the Middle East in three hours rather than the typical 10-day period. This followed the bank’s first trade finance transaction on the platform for Agrocorp International in Singapore, facilitating the early payment for agricultural products purchased from Associated Grain Corp in Australia, and resold to a customer Bangladesh.