Online trade finance network Contour has teamed up with the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) in order to provide an all-digital solution for participants involved in trading, financing and shipping goods across the globe.
As mentioned in the announcement:
“Pandemic-induced lockdowns and the subsequent explosive growth in e-commerce, have pushed the logistics industry to its limits, but inefficient manual processes are still commonplace and are creating bottlenecks.”
GSBN’s blockchain or DLT-powered operating system and its product Cargo Release has been designed to support “highly” efficient and transparent “digital sharing of verified logistics and cargo data,” the release noted. This streamlines business operations “across the whole supply chain, cutting the time for cargo to be document ready for release from days to a matter of hours,” the announcement explained.
As stated in the release:
“The partnership with Contour’s network, which digitises paper-based trade finance processes such as Letters of Credit (LCs), will drive interoperability for users of both solutions. By harnessing both solutions, corporates can experience a seamless connection between the physical supply chain and the financial system.”
The partnership will aim to support the complete workflow involved in trading goods – from accessing trade finance and “managing the documents underpinning the shipping process, to having goods released from a port.” Participants including importers, exporters, logistics service providers, and financial institutions should all be able to “benefit from improved efficiency and reduced cost.”
The release further noted that GSBN’s fast-growing footprint “complements Contour’s established presence as a leading digital trade network across Asia and beyond.” Contour continues “to expand its network of partners across the region, and recently launched its first domestic offering in Bangladesh,” the announcement revealed.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, GSBN serves as an independent, not-for-profit tech consortium to create a blockchain-based operating system to “redefine global trade.” Its founding members include international shipping lines and terminal operators “accounting for one in every three containers handled in the world.”
These reportedly include COSCO SHIPPING LINES, COSCO SHIPPING Ports, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, SPG Qingdao Port, PSA International and Shanghai International Port Group.
Carl Wegner, CEO at Contour, remarked:
“The global logistics and shipping industry – like trade finance – is in critical need of digitization. Counterparties need to be able to interact with trust, certainty and security – both in the way they finance trades and in the processes that support the physical shipment of goods. The problems that have beleaguered global trade for years are slowly becoming a thing of the past as adoption of innovative digital technologies picks up pace. We look forward to working with GSBN to further accelerate this industry-wide shift.”
Bertrand Chen, CEO at GSBN, added:
“Today’s global shipping industry is struggling to keep up with the rising complexities of supply chains, markets and economies. Digital transformation is key to addressing these challenges, but this can only be achieved by breaking down the different silos in the supply chain. This partnership with Contour breaks down another silo by connecting the physical supply chain to the underlying financial system. This will pave way for more trusted collaboration between market particpants, as well as a more efficient and resilient global supply chain.”
A fast-growing range of industries, like metals, energy, petrochemicals, textiles, soft commodities and retail have “conducted successful LC transactions on the Contour network, and Contour has recently announced that it will soon expand beyond letters of credit following its successful funding round,” the announcement noted.