Cross-border trade is about to get easier with Blockchain.
The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) and Singapore-based cross-border trade facilitation solutions provider vCargo Cloud Pte Ltd (VCC) jointly launched the world’s first blockchain-based platform for electronic certificates of origin (eCOs).
Unveiled at a ceremony officiated by Guest-of-Honour Chua Taik Him, Senior Advisor of Enterprise Singapore, the platform simplifies the processing of trade-related documents. It will host information of trade transactions on a tamper-proof distributed ledger system, which can be authenticated and accessed by various stakeholders of the platform.
A certificate of origin (“CO”) is an international trade document which certifies that the goods in a specific shipment have been wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in the stated country.
The solution was developed by VCC, SICC’s technology partner and a 50.01%-owned subsidiary of SGX-listed DeClout Limited. According to the press release, the platform vastly improves transparency, security, and efficiency in authenticating trade documents. It permits instant verification of eCOs and runs on a private blockchain network that prevents fraud, alterations, and third-party interference.
“This new eCO system revolutionizes what are today still essentially 19th-century processes, providing greater security for all users as well as a clear, unambiguous audit trail through the use of blockchain technology. I would like to congratulate VCC on its launch,” Victor Mills, Chief Executive of SICC said.
VCC’s platform utilizes QR codes, allowing eCOs to be scanned using smartphones and then printed. The number of allowable prints is restricted to prevent unauthorized duplicates. This improves efficiency and minimizes the costs of verifying COs, removing a major impediment in the process and a frequent cause of high insurance or trade finance costs.
“The launch of our smart eCO solution will make VCC the first in the trade and logistics industry to introduce the capability to make our eCOs immutable,” Desmond Tay, CEO of VCC said.
VCC intends to leverage on the Singapore launch to promote the platform globally. It will be expanded to manufacturing exporting countries such as Japan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka using the pay-per-use model.
The launch of the blockchain-based eCO platform comes amidst the Singapore Government’s call for a Self-Certification regime through the ASEAN Single Window, which aims to expedite freight clearance and reduce manual paperwork across all 10 member countries. This new solution will also strengthen Singapore’s position as a global innovation hub and reinforces the city-state’s strong commitment to driving the digitalization of trade to improve productivity.