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The new trade data sharing network in Singapore aims to combat fraud

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  As part of the city-efforts state's to restore confidence following a string of commodity trade fina...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  As part of the city-efforts state's to restore confidence following a string of commodity trade finance crimes in recent years, a Singapore trade data sharing network backed by banks, commodity houses, and state businesses has signed up 70 participants.

Following plans revealed last year, the Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) was established on Wednesday. Its creators include banks DBS and Standard Chartered, commodity trader Trafigura, and the local tech regulator, Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Antoine Cadoux, CEO of SGTraDex Services, told Reuters, "We're attempting to duplicate what's happening in the physical world." "The idea is to go paperless from beginning to end."

"We believe we can achieve scale very rapidly with the value we can demonstrate," said Cadoux, a former consultant.

After recent corporate scandals, such as the collapse of one of Asia's top oil dealers, Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd, Singapore, one of the world's leading commodity trading and financing centres and the world's largest bunkering hub, is aiming to tighten oversight.

Many banks were stuck with billions of dollars in debt as a result of the liquidation of Hin Leong and other commodity merchants, forcing lenders to reduce their exposure to commodity financing.

Bunker providers, cargo dealers, oil terminals, traders, shipping carriers, the Singapore port operator, and others are among the platform's participants.

"We aim to make the supply chain more resilient and transparent. It will undoubtedly reduce the likelihood of fraud "Cadoux explained.

According to SGTraDex, the platform, which will initially be used to optimize bunkering, container logistics, and trade finance fraud detection, is expected to unlock more than $100 million in value for participants by 2026 through efficiency and cost savings, better asset utilization, and faster access to financing.

The supporters expect that elements like data sharing flexibility and neutrality will attract more players.

Bank UOB, one of the platform's founders, stated that by June 2023, it plans to have all of its bunker finance clients on the platform.

In a statement, Eric Lian, head of group commercial banking at UOB, which claims to be the largest financier of local bunker suppliers, stated, "Digitalisation is vital in generating more openness in the bunkering market."

The technology allows storage facility operators, banks, and barge operators to go digital in bunkering, hoping to improve transparency in an industry with a lot of middlemen and a lot of paperwork.

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