Supporting international trade for the digital age

Solving real-world problems to build transparency and trust

Company: SGTraDex, Singapore
Sector: Digital infrastructure

Global supply chains are under intense pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have severely disrupted international trade, with shortages ranging from computer chips to perishable foodstuffs. At the same time, customer behaviour and demands are changing. As people buy more products online, they are also expecting complete transparency regarding the progress of their order, including delivery within days.

Singapore – the world’s busiest port measured by shipping tonnage – finds itself at the heart of this unprecedented global supply chain challenge. In August 2020, Singapore’s Alliances for Action (AfA), a public-private partnership, engaged PwC to help build a common data highway called SGTraDex that aims to be the digital highway for Singapore’s supply chain ecosystem, with the goal of streamlining and channelling information from disparate sources via a central digital infrastructure.

As part of AfA’s mission to promote Singapore’s economic growth, the government and industry group wanted SGTraDex to be a trusted, efficient and resilient supply chain infrastructure that leveraged advanced technologies to minimise delays caused by avoidable disruptions and bottlenecks. With this goal in mind, beginning with streamlining Singapore’s maritime logistics, it was critical that SGTraDex encompass the diverse needs of the port’s entire ecosystem. This includes international shipping companies that transport goods from China and other Asian countries to export markets worldwide, local Singapore logistics firms, and employees at the port’s various terminals.

The solution in action: Human-led and tech-powered logistics

Before designing and building the digital infrastructure, PwC focused on understanding the needs of this wide range of stakeholders, each with their own interests. To this end, we initially conducted workshops with local and international companies that used the port, as well as terminal employees, to map current supply chain journeys and identify pain points.

Drawing on this feedback, we defined the vision for the data-sharing platform and developed an operating model with functions such as marketing and governance, which would demonstrate SGTraDex’s value. We also built working prototypes for use cases covering the financing integrity of trade flows, the digitalisation of Singapore’s bunkering sector, and the end-to-end visibility of container locations and movements.

These use cases were designed to show how the new platform would help stakeholders improve their own performance. For example, the container use case illustrated how SGTraDex would enable the exchange of timely data between shipping lines, hauliers and terminal operators to alleviate congestion in ports and other transportation nodes.

In June 2022 the data-sharing infrastructure went live with more than 70 participants, including large multinationals, local banks, and at the other end of the ecosystem, small- and medium-sized Singapore enterprises such as local hauliers and logistics firms. Since the launch, PwC has continued to provide product development and operational assistance to SGTraDex – for example, in drafting policies and technology assistance.

“PwC’s support and expertise have been critical in enabling us to develop and launch a data exchange infrastructure that is trusted and secure. The infrastructure allows participants to share data regardless of their digital maturity, while safeguarding commercially sensitive information and reducing risk.”

Antoine Cadoux,CEO of SGTraDex

Upgrading Singapore’s digital infrastructure to benefit all citizens

SGTraDex is an outstanding example of PwC’s strategy, "The New Equation" in action, building trust and delivering sustained outcomes through a people-led, tech-driven solution. A key feature of the digital infrastructure governance competitive appeal is that it is also people-optimised, with its agile, streamlined workforce. The SGTraDex team has received professional support from PwC in areas such as understanding clients’ operational challenges in the exchange of data in various use cases such as when trying to unblock container flow bottlenecks, financing trades including green trades, digitisation of documents and processes, and processing bunkering and ship supplies.

Ultimately, SGTraDex will help Singapore continue to be a major global trading port in the digital age. Companies and global consumers also stand to gain from a more robust, reliable supply chain for delivery of goods and raw materials that are shipped through Singapore.

"Having done many complex transformation initiatives, the initiative to digitally transform Singapore's supply chain ecosystem is the most meaningful one by far. Working closely with the public and private participants in the Alliance for Action to build a common digital infrastructure has shown that it is possible for many to come together when there is a common vision that will make a generational impact to Singapore."

Kwek So Cheer,Digital Solutions Leader, PwC Singapore

PwC Singapore's Digital Solutions

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Kwek SoCheer

Kwek SoCheer

Partner, Digital Solutions, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9030 4617

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