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Digitising Islamic trade finance

Bolero has announced that the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has successfully conducted its first transaction with partners using the technology firm's trade finance platform.

A cash against documents transaction orchestrated by Saudi-based ITFC was completed between SOFITEX and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), using an electronic bill of lading issued by the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, through Bolero’s digital trade finance platform for the first time. The transaction concerned a cotton shipment originating from Burkina Faso, shipped by CMA CGM Group from the Port of Lomé in Togo. 

Bolero’s platform executed the encrypted exchange of documents, accelerating a process that would usually take weeks as parties exchanged physical documentation across Burkina Faso, Togo, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland.  

The view from the participants

"With a mandate to advance trade across the developing world, ITFC is committed to working closely with our partners in member countries to capitalise on the digitalisation of global trade," said Abou Jallow, general manager of Operations at ITFC. "Facilitating this online trade transaction for our partners in Burkina Faso marks a crucial milestone in the digitalisation of trade in Africa, and we can expect to see improved efficiency across the entire trade cycle. By embracing technology through platforms such as Bolero’s, we can ensure greater visibility, transparency, accountability, and control in the trade of strategic commodities such as cotton."

"Bolero’s platform is designed to enable trading partners to collaborate securely and efficiently, removing the traditional hurdles of international trade while remaining fully  compliant with international standards and regulations," said Andrew Raymond, CEO at Bolero. "With its enhanced user experience, the platform delivers greater functionality and seamless integration with banks and other third-party systems, providing end-to-end visibility to corporate clients and banks."

This transaction is a prime example of the development of digital business in Africa, thanks to collaboration between the bank, exporter, trader and carrier.  

"By digitising documentation exchanges and payment processes, Bolero’s platform accelerates trade transactions and demonstrates the potential to drive efficiency in trade operations for the benefit of all trade participants, by combining technology with collaboration,” said Lise Théophile, Middle Office Execution Manager for LDC’s Cotton Platform.   

"This is an important step for the maritime industry," commented Marc Bourdon, senior vice president, commercial and agencies network of the CMA CGM Group. "Digitalisation is a core pillar of CMA CGM strategy. We have been following up on developments and collaborated with Bolero for years. We were looking forward to this important step. E-BLs facilitate documentation flow between carriers, shippers and banks. With the global sanitary situation, it has become obvious that we must speed up the transition to electronic transmission of international sales documentation. CMA CGM E-Commerce teams have prepared for the challenge and we are ready to develop E-BLs with our global customers."

"Eliminating documentary collection delays, which can take up to 21 days, to being able to retain and access all shipping documents in one place without the risk of misplacing them, has increased both efficiency and confidence across the entire process," concluded Lassana Kargougou, sales director at SOFITEX. "We are now happy to extend the use of the platform to other partners to digitise the cash-against-documents process related to the sale of cotton fibre."

Trade finance as a service 

Just last week, Bolero announced the launch of Galileo TPaaS for Banks, a white-labelled trade portal-as-a-service solution for financial institutions. Using the Bolero network, the solution’s multi-banking capabilities enable a bank’s trade clients to execute transactions to all their banking partners from Bolero’s all-in-one portal.

This solution aims to help financial institutions achieve an accelerated time to market in delivering digital trade services to their trade clients while reducing the total cost of ownership in comparison to an in-house build or traditional software. The firm says banks can benefit from a greater scope of innovation through easy integration of external services within the product, improving customer experience and engagement, reducing client administration overheads for high-volume trade activity and increased customer satisfaction across small businesses, SMEs, and multinationals.

The solution is designed to give corporate customers greater autonomy in the management of their letters of credit (LCs), guarantees, standby LCs and documentary collections transactions. It includes a range of connectivity options for banks and is available on-demand as a fully managed service on the cloud. 

“In the current backdrop of the pandemic, the demand for digital trade services is at its peak," commented Anchal Tiwari, head of Product at Bolero International. "Galileo TPaaS is designed to help banks deliver digital trade services to their clients without the need to take on a complex implementation project or make heavy technology investments towards digitisation. Our vision of Galileo TPaaS is to enable banks to offer an elevated customer experience to the end-user at a fraction of the cost that banks incur in traditional trade portal solutions."

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