Singapore Developing Interoperability Framework for Digital Trade Documentation

Mar 2019

Singapore is seeking to develop an interoperability framework, called “TradeTrust”, for the exchange of digital trade documentation, in order to enable a more seamless and efficient flow of goods between digitally inter-connected trading partners. TradeTrust consists of a set of governance and legal frameworks, standards and a digital infrastructure, to facilitate the interoperability of electronic trade documents exchanged between different digital ecosystems. This is supported by the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain to provide participants with proof of authenticity and provenance for these documents. The technical infrastructure will be hosted on the Networked Trade Platform (NTP), Singapore’s national trade information management platform, as a value-added service (VAS) to enable the exchange of electronic trade documents.

TradeTrust can reduce the risk of receiving fake documents/information as sources are intended to be accredited. This would remove the need for repetitive checks by the various trade ecosystem parties to ascertain the legitimacy of the documents/information received.  It is also expected to eliminate costs associated with printing, handling and transportation of hundreds of pages of documentation, by digitizing certain documents which are handled in paper form today.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will partner the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) to lead TradeTrust development for electronic Bills of Lading (eBL), with support from Singapore Customs and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA). Through close cooperation between government and industry, the initiative will focus on developing the TradeTrust digital infrastructure, promoting the digitalization of Bills of Lading and conducting technical trials to demonstrate the interoperability of eBLs across different digital ecosystems. In January 2019, all four parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to affirm their support for the initiative. IMDA will also be organizing industry consultation workgroups with key stakeholders from the maritime trade, logistics and finance sectors to seek feedback on the initiative. Subsequently, a Request for Proposal will be issued to invite the industry to submit proposals on the technical implementation of the TradeTrust infrastructure.

(Sources: Straits Times; Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)


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