Treasury Management Internation Logo

DBS and Contour Broaden Digital Trade Offerings to Four New Markets in Asia-Pacific

Published 

Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia – To further push the digitalisation of trade finance in major trade hubs in the region, DBS Bank has expanded its offerings on Contour’s rapidly growing trade finance network to corporate customers in four key markets in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

DBS was the first Singapore-based bank to join Contour’s beta network and completed the first fully digital Letter of Credit (LC) transaction on the platform last year. The bank has now moved from Contour’s beta network to its production network to offer streamlined digital LC transactions for customers across Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore from this month.

Contour – also based in Singapore – and its ecosystem of bank partners such as DBS are working together to drive a collective effort to digitise global trade. Built on R3’s Corda, Contour’s network focuses on digitising paper-based trade finance processes, including the creation, exchange, approval and issuance of LCs, which are often cost-intensive and time-consuming.

APAC is a key region leading the digitisation of trade finance as banks and corporates seek to mitigate risk and enhance cost efficiency in the wake of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional paper-based LC processes have been a major obstacle to trade growth and created unnecessary complexity, cost and delays.

By joining Contour, DBS will be able to provide a fully digital end-to-end LC settlement process for its customers in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, including the transfer of electronic trade and title documents.

This helps shorten settlement time, reduce paperwork and simplify complex trade processes. To date, those on the Contour network have seen great efficiency gains, reducing the process of an LC presentation by up to 90%.

Contour’s decentralised network also reduces forgery and fraud opportunities as it validates all identities on its secure network and leverages its technology partners to match trade documents to real-time data, greatly reducing the chances of fraudulent activity.

This digital solution not only is secure, but sustainable. Traditional trade uses trillions of pieces of paperwork and millions of courier legs which has a significant impact on the environment. Contour offers a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable option that allows companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carl Wegner, CEO at Contour said: “The addition of another major Asian bank to our production network highlights Contour’s growing presence in APAC as an industry standard for digitising trade finance documentation. DBS has been an important partner for Contour in our work to support Singapore’s position as a key trading hub and has already participated in a number of successful transactions on our network. We’re delighted to facilitate its transition to offering live services to customers in these four markets. This is another important step on our journey to becoming the new digital end-to-end infrastructure for global trade.”

Sriram Muthukrishnan, Group Head of Trade Product Management, DBS Bank, said: “Our partnership with Contour aligns with DBS’ ongoing efforts to drive greater efficiencies in trade and unlock strategic value for our corporate customers. We recognise that digitisation is a powerful enabler to simplify the highly complex nature of trade finance, especially for processes relating to letters of credit. Digitising trade processes is also an increasingly relevant and heightened priority for corporates to survive and thrive in the new normal and will form an integral component for resilient trade ecosystems of the future.”

Most recent episodes

Lessons from Innospec on Building a Strong Cash Culture

Without ready access to the key metrics of cash forecasting, Andrew Hawes (Innospec) knew the business could do little more than react to events. But without the collaboration of key stakeholders too, he knew that...

35:08

How to Make Your TMS the Ultimate Investment Tool

The right TMS can be a huge asset to treasury. But these one-stop shops often fall short when it comes to short term investment workflows. In this podcast, Ed Lopez, James Griffin (Calastone), Jeannot Jonas (Carrier...

01:24:00

Best Strategies for Driving Cash Visibility: Advice You Can’t Google

What are the best strategies for facilitating cash visibility, and how can treasurers promote everlasting tech adoption within their departments? Serrala’s Nancy Zhang...

35:23

Innovations in Retail Payments

The fallout from the pandemic has radically accelerated changes in consumer behaviour on a global scale. The payments sector has had to quickly adapt in order to keep up with the emerging demands of both digital consumers and retail corporates, resulting in some...

36:40

The Future of ESG in Treasury

In this podcast, Melissa Moi, Peter Jameson and Venkat ES from Bank of America join TMI’s Eleanor Hill to determine where the ESG journey is heading next. Our expert panel consider how changing regulation, technology solutions and metrics including ESG KPIs...

26:50

HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight: Investing in the Future – from Diversity to Green Deposits

In the final instalment of HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight, Eleanor Hill (TMI) invites Nadine Lagarmitte and Suraj Kalati (HSBC) to consider how corporates’ attitudes to...

25:12

HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight: The ESG Landscape – what every treasurer needs to know

In the third edition of HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight Podcast series, TMI’s Eleanor Hill invites Farnam Bidgoli (HSBC) to provide an in-depth overview of the current ESG...

16:24

The Path to Transformational Global Cash Visibility

Davina Bradley (CEVA Logistics) and Conor Deegan (CashAnalytics) join TMI’s Eleanor Hill to explore how treasurers can transform their cash visibility and forecasting within their business in a matter of weeks using a...

33:16

HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight: Embedding ESG in Trade and Supply Chains

In the second podcast from HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight series, TMI’s Eleanor Hill speaks to Surath Sengupta (HSBC) about embedding ESG into trade and supply chains....

20:58

Lost in Transaction: Overcoming Payments Pitfalls

From simple errors to duplicates, fraud and sanctions violations, there are a number of areas where payments can go wrong – especially in the real-time environment. In this podcast, TMI speaks to Andrew Ferrao...

34:25