Digital trade finance network Contour has partnered with the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) to offer an end-to-end digital solution for all participants involved in trading, financing and shipping goods around the world.
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-enabled operating system and its product Cargo Release enables highly efficient and transparent digital sharing of verified logistics and cargo data. 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 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 support the entire workflow involved in trading goods around the world – 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 will all benefit from improved efficiency and reduced cost.
GSBN’s large and 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.
Based in Hong Kong, GSBN is the world’s first independent, not-for-profit technology consortium to build a blockchain-enabled operating system to redefine global trade. Its founding members include major global shipping lines and terminal operators accounting for one in every three containers handled in the world. These 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, said: “The global logistics and shipping industry – like trade finance – is in critical need of digitisation. 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, said: “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 wide and growing range of industries, such as 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.
Contour also continues to win industry accolades, including being named Leader in Trade for Digitalisation at the 2021 GTR Awards, and Best New Trade Finance Technology Solution Provider in Asia and Singapore at the 2021 Global Banking & Finance Awards.