In an attempt to streamline information flows across a fragmented global supply chain, Singapore has officially launched a centralised data platform. The data exchange has already gained the support of more than 70 participants, including banks, logistics operators, and energy companies.
The new common data platform, called Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex), was introduced in November 2020 as a pilot scheme. The scheme aimed to improve data efficiencies in container flow and financial processes. The project is being headed by Alliance for Action (AFA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation, as one of seven industry groups that the government has established in an attempt to identify and prototype new ideas to drive the local economy. The other alliances focus on key growth areas such as e-commerce, robotics, and environmental sustainability.
SGTraDex has been described as a “common data highway” that aims to facilitate the exchange of information between proponents across the supply chain ecosystem, providing “trusted, secure, and inclusive” access. In an attempt to move away from traditional paper-based systems, the new platform uses proprietary digital technology to plug gaps in supply chains and to increase efficiency, transparency, and sustainability.
To provide participants with proof of authenticity and origin of the documents exchanged, SGTraDex uses the TradeTrust framework and distributed ledger technology to verify documents. TradeTrust, built on blockchain technology, is used as a common infrastructure to enable the secure exchange of digital documentation between trade partners, including private organisations and government agencies.
SGTraDex lists 11 organisations as its founders, including PSA, DBS Bank, Ocean Network Express, and Standard Chartered Bank. More than 70 participants were announced alongside its launch, which include Trafigura, Pacific International Lines, and ExxonMobil Asia-Pacific.
SGTraDex claim, amongst cited cases, that the platform would ease data exchanges between hauliers, shipping lines, and port operators to increase asset utilisation and improve planning. Traditionally, this market segment faced challenges with limited and slow access to data, resulting in congestion at ports and other transport points.
Antoine Cadoux, SGTraDex Services CEO, said: “Digitalisation has transformed many sectors, but in the global supply chain and trade sector, its promise has yet to materialise. The physical exchange of paper remains the norm.”
Cadoux also said: “We believe the plug-and-play digital infrastructure we have created at SGTraDex will go a long way to make it easy for all participants to share data under an agreed set of rules… Our goal at SGTraDex is to enable global trade to happen more quickly, more reliably, and with higher integrity.”
Over the past year, several pilot tests were run on the SGTraDex platform, including a live bunker delivery financing transaction carried out with an electronic bunker delivery note.
SGTraDex Technologies CEO Liau Eng Soon also added that participants would have “complete autonomy” in the types of data they choose to share with their ecosystem partners.