Standard Chartered plans to partner with banks around the world to expand the reach of Trade Track-It, a recently launched online portal designed to offer end-to-end visibility of goods shipments.
The bank announced the portal’s launch on October 10, explaining that it has integrated goods and vessel tracking data from DHL and Lloyd’s List Intelligence to let users monitor the status of a trade transaction in near-real time.
Clients and their counterparties are able to view up-to-date information on the status of document delivery and vessel movements, allowing them to improve planning and facilitate trade flows more efficiently.
Speaking to GTR on the sidelines of last week’s Sibos event in Amsterdam, the bank’s global head of trade and working capital, Kai Fehr, says the product should address the majority of queries handled by its dedicated trade service team.
“We have 1.1 million phone calls to our dedicated trade service, but 60% are always the same questions,” Fehr says.
“What’s the status of my transaction, where is my letter of credit, where are my documents and where is the shipment? We are providing our corporate clients full visibility on exactly that question: instrument, document and shipment.”
Fehr says Standard Chartered is also making the tool available to other financial institutions, who can look up transaction details using a reference number, the currency and the amount.
“You don’t need to log into a proprietary bank system and provide authorisation on who else is able to log in,” he says. “That means our correspondent bank partners can give it to their clients.”
As a result, trade finance and working capital solutions should be more widely available, including to smaller suppliers, by enabling other lenders to make use of Standard Chartered’s presence in 80 markets around the world, explains Fehr. That also means suppliers can access financing facilities denominated in local currency.
“Building an infrastructure to enable supply chain solutions is a heavy burden, and you need a footprint to enable that,” he says.
“The idea now is to partner with banks around the globe who don’t have that infrastructure and form a club deal. We’re teaming up like you would team up in a term loan or an RCF [revolving credit facility], and going jointly to the client.”
Trade Track-It, which Fehr says has been in development for around 10 months, can also provide a sustainability indicator. The platform examines data from several sources, such as vessel carbon emissions and use of packaging, to assess whether a trade transaction meets Standard Chartered’s sustainable trade finance standards.
“The problem is, banks don’t always have the data to see whether they are financing something sustainable,” Fehr says.
Samuel Mathew, the bank’s global head of flow and financial institution trade, adds the inclusion of a sustainability indicator “further demonstrates our commitment to support our clients in achieving their own sustainability agendas”.