Global trade finance network Contour is entering live production, with a clear focus on digitalising letter of credit (L/C) processing.

The Singapore-based company claims it has developed the world's first global, decentralised, digital trade finance platform that unites buyers, suppliers and banks and is open to all geographies and industries.

L/C focus

Banks and corporates will start using Contour by focusing on L/C processing according to a company statement.

It says that during testing, the platform was able to reduce the processing time for L/Cs by up to 90 per cent, from an average of 10 days to under 24 hours after the presentation of supporting digital documentation.

Extensive trials

Contour's solution aims to deliver a streamlined digital application for trade finance over a distributed ledger network, which allows parties to manage their own data while transacting and viewing shared information seamlessly and securely with their trading partners and service providers.

The move into production follows an extensive period of design, development and testing by over 80 banks and corporates, with trials in 17 countries, and transactions spanning commodities, petrochemicals, energy, metals, retail goods and textiles.

Coronavirus impact

"We owe our thanks to the global network of banks, corporates, shareholders and technology partners, who have collaborated to deliver this network," according to Contour's CEO, Carl Wegner who also reckons the platform is well suited to help manage disruptions to trade caused by the coronavirus crisis.

"The timing could not be more prescient. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have amplified the need to find more effective methods of conducting trade, reducing the sheer volume and level of contact points, streamlining processes, reducing costs and improving efficiencies," he concludes.

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