By Fawwaz Baktee
Two years ago, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced plans in the Budget 2016 speech to develop a $100 million one-stop digital platform that would support companies, particularly in the logistics and trade finance sectors.
Traders, logistics service providers, carriers and banks can now look forward to the platform after Minister Heng officially launched the Networked Trade Platform (NTP) on 26 September at the Orchard Hotel.
The platform will serve as an ecosystem to digitalise and streamline trade processes and connect traders in Singapore and overseas through end-to-end digital trade.
With the platform, traders can tap on services such as cargo freight booking, trade financing, cargo insurance, customs declarations and payment reconciliation.
These services aim to easily arrange shipments, improve cash flow and better manage trade compliance – all on one platform.
Better Operational Efficiency
The platform also aims to make operations more efficient by allowing traders to share vital digital documents such as invoices and permits.
The paperless process can help traders save time and cost and improve data accuracy, according to the Singapore Customs in a press release.
“Today, it takes about five days to move a container by sea between Singapore and Shanghai. Documents can lag cargo arrival … NTP is able to transmit trusted and accurate data … Stakeholders who use this tool to plan better and cut wastages and lags will be able to do their job better, get paid sooner, and be more competitive,” said Minister Heng in his speech.
He added that moving forward, Singapore must work towards greater connectivity, especially with its trading partners around the world.
To date, close to 800 companies from various industries, including wholesale trade and logistics, have signed up as NTP users.