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Singapore launches blockchain based system for the maritime sector – TradeTrust

The country’s Minister for Communications and Information, Mr S. Iswaran has announced the news in a speech to Singapore’s parliament on March 4, 2019, that Singapore has added the plan to launch a blockchain-based system in its maritime sector called TradeTrust.

“TradeTrust is an initiative to develop a set of standards to help businesses securely exchange digital trade documents. We believe it will improve the efficiency of our trading and logistics sectors,” Minister Iswaran said.

The pilot is aimed at cutting container ships’ waiting times and fraud risks.

The minister shared that the new system will digitise the paper-based lading bills, making it shareable and accessible as and when container ships dock and unload in Singapore

The minister said he believed that it can cut administration costs, which currently adds 20 per cent to the physical cost of having a single container, as well as cut the risk of fraud, and will propel Singapore to a more attractive business hub.

Electronic Transactions Act to recognise digital bills of lading.

He also revealed the Singaporean government’s plan to introduce changes to the Electronic Transactions Act to recognise digital bills of lading.

The bill of lading is one of the most important documents in global trade. It is an evidence for the contract of carriage and receipt and ownership of goods. The paper-based bill of lading is still the most commonly used form of trade document in shipping, although some countries are slowly moving to adopt digital bills of lading.

Electronic bills of lading, which are generated through blockchain technology, provide all parties with proofs of authenticity for digital documents being exchanged. They also eliminate the need for repetitive checks at each country to determine the legality of bills received.

IMDA and other government agencies are currently working with industry partners to conduct proof-of-concept trials.

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