Singapore introduces common data infrastructure to connect supply chain ecosystems

Singapore has launched plans for a new common data infrastructure to support digital data sharing between supply chain ecosystems, both locally and globally, through a public-private partnership involving maritime stakeholders including PSA International, Jurong Port, Ocean Network Express and Pacific International Lines.

The Singapore Trade Data Exchange, or SGTraDex, is designed to act as a neutral and open digital infrastructure, conceptualised by the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Supply Chain Digitalisation, a group created in the port state in late 2020 to bring together the public and private sectors to pilot a common data system.

SGTraDex development has focused on delivering results from trials of three initial use cases, representing core-use archetypes for supply chain data exchange: strengthening financing integrity within trade flows; improving end-to-end visibility of container logistics; and digitalising the bunkering industry.

The system aims to enable participants to reconcile trade data with actual physical flows, so the authenticity of key trade information can be verified by stakeholders and financiers can fund trades with confidence. Operational and events data can also be shared with partners such as hauliers and shippers, who can better co-ordinate and optimise the movement of container and cargo flows to and from manufacturing sites, warehouses, depots and ports.

SGTraDex will additionally allow documentation and processes associated with the delivery of bunkers to be digitalised, to improve transparency and make it easier for companies to reconcile actual usage in close to real time.

A Heads of Agreement (HoA) document has been signed by the public-private partnership participants to formalise the project, including Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), PSA International, Trafigura, DBS Bank, Jurong Port, OCBC Bank, Ocean Network Express, Oiltanking, Pacific International Lines, Standard Chartered Bank, and United Overseas Bank.

The partners aim to build on this initial launch phase by expanding the scope of existing use cases, developing new ones, bringing onboard their respective ecosystems, and driving adoption of the common platform locally and globally.

SGTraDex is expected to be fully rolled out in early 2022, when additional industry players will be able to participate.

In related news, a number of the SGTraDex partners have recently completed Singapore’s first live bunker delivery financing transaction using a digital bunker delivery note (BDN) in place of paper.

The pilot was conducted by DBS, in partnership with Trafigura Group’s marine fuels supply and procurement joint venture TFG Marine, working with Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Ascenz and supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). The newly digitalised process demonstrated that in future clients would be able to obtain financing for their underlying trade in under two hours, the partners said.

“Trust and transparency are the keys to Singapore’s continued leadership in trade and trade finance. The digitalisation of bunker delivery notes is one of many pivotal steps necessary to transition Singapore’s bunkering sector into the digital era and to ensure our port and shipping industry is future-ready,” added Sriram Muthukrishnan, Group Head of Trade Product Management, DBS.

“The objective is to co-create an end-to-end digital workflow that enhances efficiency and transparency for bunker trades, while building trust with banks and shipowners which are fundamental to the long-term growth and development of Singapore’s bunker ecosystem.”

Kenneth Lim, Assistant Chief Executive (Industry) of MPA, also commented: “MPA has been accelerating the maritime industry’s digital transformation efforts, and these include digitalisation of the bunkering sector, a vital part of our hub port service offering.”

“The adoption of digital documentations will help stakeholders across the value chain move towards more efficient and transparent operations that are aided by data-driven decision making. We welcome more of such private-public collaborations facilitated by our regulatory sandbox, that will help Singapore remain the world’s leading bunkering port.”

The next phase of development for the digital BDN project includes plans to integrate the system with SGTraDex once the digital utility is operational next year.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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