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ASB bank invests in TradeWindow supply chain blockchain

new zealand trade supply chain ship

New Zealand’s ASB Bank has invested in blockchain startup TradeWindow. The platform aims to digitize international trade documentation to reduce the risk of fraud and cybersecurity threats. Last year we wrote about a TradeWindow pilot transaction between meat exporter Greenlea Premier and a Korean importer, in which ASB Bank was also a partner.

“TradeWindow has the potential to truly transform the way our customers experience the international trade process,” said Nigel Annet, Executive General Manager of Corporate Banking at ASB Bank. “By digitizing the trade process, businesses will be able to operate more efficiently with trust and security across the globe.”

There are 12,000 registered exporters in New Zealand, which is a reasonable opportunity. However, ASB Bank is owned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia. While not mentioned in the announcement, clearly there’s potential to access an even bigger market.

TradeWindow’s founder/CEO AJ Smith sees the primary benefit of distributed ledger technology (DLT) as costs savings. Plus there’s the speed of document sharing by avoiding sending paperwork via couriers. “TradeWindow allows all relevant documents – from certificates to invoices – to be exchanged digitally using one touchpoint,” said Smith.

“With cybersecurity threats on the rise, many exporters are looking to future-proof their trading procedures. By using TradeWindow, exporters can prevent revenue loss from criminal activity and provide increased traceability through the supply chain.”

The growth opportunity

Smith has his eyes on expansion. TradeWinds is planning to acquire Prodoc, which creates digital documentation for more than 60% of New Zealand’s exports. Plus it intends to buy IVS (Independent Verification Services) which provides certifications for the forestry and horticultural sectors. Additionally, it’s conducting pilots in different industries including with Fiordland Lobster Company, New Zealand’s largest lobster exporter.

We’ve asked TradeWindow which blockchain technology it uses. Last year the TradeWinds platform was part of VerifyUnion which developed the technology and where Smith was CEO until recently. We’ve requested clarification about whether TradeWindow was a spin-out.

Singapore startup dltledgers has a similar international supply chain platform already in production. It has already processed more than $1 billion in trade finance.