An international consortium comprising key industry and technical leaders has announced the successful execution of the world’s first entirely digitalized cross-border movement of goods – between the UK and Singapore.
This monumental step, geared toward transforming global trade to be more cost-effective, efficient, resilient and environmentally conscious, was made possible by the UK Electronic Trade Documents Act (ETDA), which came into force on September 20, 2023.
What made this shipment remarkable was the use of electronic trade documents and fully digital logistics documents, all of which were captured on an enterprise-grade permissioned distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, across both jurisdictions.
The entire process was paperless, leveraging the robust capabilities of the LogChain platform. LogChain’s platform, aligned with the UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR), enabled flawless transition, endorsement and verification of document transfers across the diverse digital platforms employed by the involved parties. This promotes policy coherence and harmonization of digital trading standards without causing hindrance to other parties involved in the transaction.
Until this remarkable endeavor, only specific facets of supply chains enjoyed the benefits of digitalization. However, with the UK’s ETDA endorsement, the notion of complete digitalization in the movement of goods has transformed from a mere aspiration to reality. This act, which was instituted via the Law Commission Special Procedure, has ushered in a new era by giving electronic trade documents the same legal recognition as paper documents, all without enforcing a complete shift.
Such advances hold great significance, as trade documents under English jurisdiction dominate global trade. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has reported that approximately 80% of worldwide trade documents are anchored in English law.
The demonstrable advantages of this moment are considerable with the following efficiencies delivered in this shipment:
- Reduction in paperwork >85%;
- Reduction in logistics processing time >89%.
Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore, commented: “Fully digitalized supply chains and shipments will be absolutely revolutionary in terms of efficiency, sustainability and reduction of waste. So I’m delighted to celebrate this first-of-its-kind shipment on the back of the UK Electronic Trade Documents Act.”