Bolero International has joined the Marco Polo blockchain network, bringing electronic bills of lading (eBLs) to the trade finance platform following the launch of its Galileo solution earlier this year. Marco Polo has yet to confirm a new go-live date, however, having initially planned to launch operations in Q2 this year.

The partnership between Bolero and Marco Polo will provide a fully integrated trade settlement process, allowing corporates and banks to increase the capacity and pace of their trade transactions, say both parties in a statement.

Currently, more than 30 banks are part of Marco Polo, which focuses on open account trade finance, making it the largest trade finance network that leverages blockchain technology.

“Bolero’s eBL and e-documents solutions will ultimately allow members of the Marco Polo Network to have access to actionable business intelligence via the underlying Corda blockchain,” says Andrew Raymond, CEO of Bolero. “This partnership will continue to facilitate trade finance transactions on distributed ledger technology by further automating the trade finance and supply chain’s settlement processes.”

The news follows Bolero launching its Galileo platform earlier this year with the aim to future-proof digital trade finance services for banks, corporates, carriers and other parties within trade by making it easier for them to embrace and deploy trade digitisation, removing barriers such as cost of entry and complexity in implementation.

Galileo is a web-based platform that uses APIs to connect to bank and other third-party systems. Another important functionality is that users can create, edit and manage letters of credit, electronic presentations and guarantees, as well as open account transactions and eBLs.

While Marco Polo has a growing number of bank and non-bank members, there is still uncertainty over the platform’s go-live date. GTR was told in April by a spokesperson for TradeIX – the company behind Marco Polo – that all the products would be live in Q2 of this year, but when asked by GTR whether or not the platform or any of the products are in production, a TradeIX spokesperson declined to answer, citing confidentiality reasons. The project had originally expected to move into production by early-2019.

TradeIX has two roles in Marco Polo: one as the application software developer, and the other as Business Network Operator (BNO). The company licenses its software and applications to the participants of the network and charges fees for transactions executed on the platform.

Another recent non-bank tech member to the platform is Pole Star, which focuses on maritime technology and regulatory compliance. It added its PurpleTRAC regulatory technologies to the network, meaning that Marco Polo users engaged in maritime trade will be able to see ship movements over the past 12 months and check whether the businesses, or people, they are trading with are on sanctions lists.

It’s been a tough few months for new technology projects. Shortly after technology giant IBM took a 7% stake in blockchain project, GTR revealed that it cut around half of its workforce after struggling to secure funding from several of its member banks and one external investor.

GTR reported in June that problems arose when funding raised from some shareholder banks during 2020 proved lower than expected, with many opting not to reinvest in recent rounds. At the same time, a potentially significant injection of funding from Euler Hermes – believed to be in the region of €2-3mn – did not materialise.