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More traction for trade digitisation

Last week on CTMfile, we asked if the pandemic could be a catalyst to trade digitisation. Two news stories released so far this week suggest the trend is continuing apace. 

The first story concerns Cargill Australia, a provider of grain, oilseeds and other agricultural commodities, which used the functionality and speed of the new Bolero International Galileo trade finance platform to accelerate a canola oil shipment to China, meeting a tight deadline despite the current coronavirus difficulties.

Transferring two electronic bills of lading (eBLs) on Galileo, Cargill Australia completed the transaction in two days, with ePresentation sent from Australia on 27 April, and the eBLs surrendered on 30 April, before the start of the May Day holidays in China on 1 May.

Loading in Australia took place between 12 and 15 April and ePresentation was achieved before the vessel docked at Nantong. The shipment comprised two parcels of canola oil loaded in, respectively, Newcastle and Melbourne, Australia.

“The enhanced speed and operational simplicity of Galileo gave us major advantages when we wanted to hit a tight deadline despite the disruption to normal trade processes caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” said David Werner, Trade Execution Manager, Cargill Australia. “Galileo enabled us to complete this transaction before the Chinese holiday without compromising on security or having to cut corners on efficiency.”

Launched in February, Bolero’s Galileo trade finance platform is designed to future-proof digital trade services for corporates, carriers, banks and other eco-systems. The platform aims to deliver greater functionality and seamless integration with banks and other third-party systems, providing end-to-end visibility to corporate clients and banks.

“What Cargill Australia achieved would never have been possible with paper bills of lading," said Andrew Raymond, CEO of Bolero. "The speed and simplicity of digital presentation overcame all the problems generated by the pandemic, with bank branches shut, staff in short supply and social distancing measures in force. With Galileo we have the platform to make trade digitisation simpler and easier to deploy, providing banks, corporates and carriers with a new, highly connected, digital eco-system. Paper bills of lading should be consigned to history.”

The Galileo trade finance platform provides corporate and bank users with a new look and feel as well as expanded functionality. Its design aims for a more intuitive, more secure, end-to-end user experience. Via a single log-in, users manage all trade services in one place with a consolidated view of all transactions, for faster, more informed decisions that optimise cash flow and working capital.

Galileo provides a single point of access so that users can create, edit and manage letters of credit, electronic presentations and guarantees, as well as open account transactions and electronic bills of lading. Bolero says it is also introducing value-added services in areas such as compliance and e-certificates of origin. 

Behind this is a flexible, modular and scalable platform, with the aim to provide interoperability through a new API infrastructure. Galileo integrates with back-office, treasury, ERP, and blockchain-based eco-systems.It will replace the current Bolero platform.

Reorganising vendor structure

Other trade solutions vendors are also adapting to the increased focus on digitisation in the trade space. China Systems, a trade solutions vendor, has created a specialised Trade Digitalisation Services (TDS) Unit, which is composed of experts who have deep technical, project and business domain knowledge on international trade operations.

The team have previously been involved in a number of integration projects, including integration with solutions such as trade DLT platform Contour, Traydstream’s OCR/AI Document Checking platform and recently with Enigio’s trace:original Digital Document technology.

China Systems says that the TDS Unit's expertise lies in:

  • Understanding the trade and SCF ecosystem, particularly in the area of its documentary/digital data flows, risk management, financing and settlement techniques.
  • Designing and implementing business applications, related data structures, information flows and integration requirements.
  • Automating corporate and bank processing flows.
  • Designing and re-engineering business processes.
  • Optimising business and technical architecture.
  • Implementing digital operating models, through the use of modern technologies, with a strong focus on creating a superior user experience and customer service model.
  • Creative and innovative thinking, based on solid understanding of both the international trade business context, its operational challenges and enabling technology infrastructure.
  • Understanding the impact of introducing new technology and defining an approach to achieve digital transformation, with a business process optimisation mindset.

Interestingly, the TDS team does not restrict its services to China Systems' suite of products only. The objective is to provide high quality services and/or solutions not only to financial institutions but also to consulting firms, strategy advisors and technology companies active in the domain of international trade.

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