Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), an independent, not-for-profit technology consortium to build a blockchain-enabled operating system designed to redefine global trade, welcomes Bank of China (BOC), Singapore multinational banking group DBS Bank (DBS), and British multinational banking group The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd (HSBC), to form the consortium’s Trade Finance Advisory Group.

According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), there is an estimated trade finance gap of $1.5 trillion projected to grow to $2.5 trillion by 2025.

The mandate of the Trade Finance Advisory Group is to help bridge this financing gap by helping partner institutions improve their existing processes, by leveraging trusted digital data from supply chains. In turn, this will help enhance financing support for small and medium enterprises, many of which have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, GSBN said in a statement on Wednesday.

The announcement builds upon the recent growth of GSBN, following the rollout of its Cargo Release application across Asia and partnerships with eight major port groups in China.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated many areas where paper can be eliminated in favor for more efficient, trusted digital systems. Given the symbiotic relationship between the shipping sector and finance, we must explore how we can connect with, and enhance banking processes to bridge the $1.5 trillion trade finance gap. Breaking siloes between supply chains and trade finance is critical part to unlocking new value in global trade, which is why we’re delighted to have three financial leaders join our mission,” GSBN Chief Executive Officer Bertrand Chen said.

The advisory group will explore the technical, legal, and regulatory frameworks needed to break the siloes between the global supply chain and financial institutions.

Furthermore, the group will also work together to test digital solutions such as electronic Bill of Lading and other supply chain data to improve the financing process for banks.

“We have been actively supporting the cooperation between the finance and the shipping industries to facilitate trade and create value for all stakeholders in the supply chain. Early this year, we became the first financial institution to partner with GSBN to accelerate digital transformation of the shipping industry. We look forward to contributing further to the efforts to reshape the future of trade finance ecosystem with a view to benefitting all parties involved ultimately,” James Ho, Deputy General Manager of Transaction Banking Department from Bank of China (Hong Kong) said.

“Bringing shipping and logistics players onto a digital ecosystem will enable critical information and documents to be seamlessly shared, processed, and transacted between the multiple participants in the trade flow. Through this partnership with GSBN, and other like-minded initiatives, DBS looks forward to enabling wider access to trade financing and services for a truly digital journey across data, physical and financial flows,” Sriram Muthu Krishnan, Managing Director & Group Head of Product Management from DBS Bank said.

“Through our collaboration with GSBN and our investments in FinTechs such as Contour, we are utilizing our market leadership to effect the digital transformation of the trade ecosystem, from minimizing the use of paper in trade finance to converting clients to digital ways of working. We look forward to working with GSBN, our peers, and stakeholders to drive trade transformation and create new opportunities,” Ajay Sharma, Regional Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance, Asia Pacific at HSBC said.

As part of GSBN’s rapidly growing ecosystem of members that including the likes of COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd, Hutchison Ports, OOCL, and PSA, the Trade Finance Advisory Group will also benefit from collaboration and co-creation opportunities with various market participants.

Incorporated in Hong Kong, GSBN is an independent, not-for-profit technology consortium to build a blockchain-enabled operating system to redefine global trade. The platform facilitates trusted collaboration between disparate and competing market participants, as well as enabling greater efficiencies and resilience.

It also aims to expand the global trade ecosystem by creating bridges to new market participants including banks, fintech companies, and other consortia, while supporting the development of technology-driven innovation as the sector makes the leap to digital.

The consortium was first founded by eight global leaders in the global shipping industry accounting for one in every three containers handled in the world.

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