Nordic financial services group SEB and Finnish industrial group Wärtsilä have used aspects of letter of credit (L/C) processing to carry out a test of secure data sharing between companies in trade finance operations.

According to SEB, the test demonstrated that manual and time-consuming document exchanges can be replaced by data interchange which enables automated processes.

Secure document exchanges

The test case involved document exchanges in an L/C transaction that would normally have been executed by mailing PDF documents between the parties whereas in this pilot case SEB and Wärtsilä exchanged structured data sets.

The proof-of-concept was carried out on the IHAN platform developed by technology company Digital Living International in collaboration with the Finnish innovation fund Sitra and cybersecurity company Nixu.

Ground-breaking result

"The prototype was evaluated in January and the result is ground-breaking," says SEB transaction services business developer, Harri Rantanen.

"Although this proof of concept focused on a small part of the L/C process, we have confirmed that you can go simply and securely from document exchange to data interchange on a platform that works independently of the systems and processes used by the parties involved," he adds.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.