Trade Finance
Published  4 MIN READ

Remapping the Global Trade Space

Contour’s network-based blockchain offering could finally move trade finance out of the dark ages

With a Tier 1 bank-supported global network built around R3’s Corda blockchain, and interoperability with essential shipping and trading networks, Contour is ratcheting up the digitisation of trade finance. TMI had no hesitation in making it the outright winner of the 2021 Technology & Innovation Award for Best Trade Finance Solution.

Technology & Innovation Awards

Trade Finance Solution

Since being founded as Contour in January 2020, the organisation has created a global decentralised trade finance network of banks, corporates, and ecosystem partners that are working to transform trade finance. It has moved in impressive style, currently listing more than 80 clients including Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, DBS, CTBC, HSBC, ING, SABB, Standard Chartered, SEB, SMBC, Rio Tinto, Xiamen ITG, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India, Vale, and British American Tobacco Bangladesh. Its partner list is equally impressive, having joined forces with companies including Bolero, IntellectEU, essDOCS, Chinsay, TradeCloud, Mphasis, CargoX, ThoughtWorks, TIS INTEC Group, MineHub and Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) among others.

The platform, which works for a local bank or corporate in emerging markets as well as it does for a global trade finance bank or a multinational corporate in more developed markets, started life as a project formed by leading trade banks in 2018. It was launched at that year’s SIBOS event in Sydney with a digital LC solution, but has moved in great leaps and bounds. Its network has grown to include 16 banks in more than 50 countries. Most significantly, Contour’s CEO, Carl Wegner, says its recently formed Innovation Lab was created to aid expansion into the widely used open account trade space. This would be a dramatic improvement for corporates currently beset by slow and risk-laden paper-based processing.