DBS Bank joins Contour’s Beta Network, completes first deal

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DBS Bank joined Contour’s network on 11 May 2020, growing the number of banks on the blockchain platform driving a collective effort to digitalise global trade.

Built on R3’s Corda, Contour’s network focuses on digitalising processes, including the creation, exchange, approval and issuance of letter of credits (LCs), which are often tedious and time-consuming.

Joining Contour’s growing ecosystem of banks and partners aligns with DBS’ ongoing efforts to drive greater efficiencies in trade and unlock strategic value for its corporate customers. The demand for ‘contact-free’ banking amid the Covid-19 situation also makes digitalising trade processes an increasingly relevant and heightened priority for all participants during this period.

Through Contour, DBS will be able to tap on the network’s digital solutions to provide a fully digital end-to-end LC settlement process for its customers – including the transfer of electronic trade and title documents. This helps shorten settlement time, reduce paperwork and simplify complex trade processes.

Corporate customers can also conduct digital pre-issuance negotiation between applicant and beneficiary in real-time, and share this with DBS post-endorsement for LC Issuance. This increases the accuracy of LCs issued and helps facilitate quicker resolution in the event of discrepancies.

In addition, customers will also enjoy enhanced transparency with real-time tracking of transactions on the platform, along with a full audit trail.

John Laurens, Group Head of Global Transaction Services at DBS Bank, said: “We’ve been employing technology and digital solutions to innovatively unlock opportunities for our corporate customers across sectors and of all scale.”

“This is more than simply digitising an historically paper-based service; it’s about transforming the way industries work by providing greater transparency, security and speed to build sustainable trade ecosystems that are able to weather the peaks and troughs of economic cycles and are resilient in times of crisis,” he continued.

On 12 May, Contour announced the completion of a Baosteel and Rio Tinto deal, supported by ChinsayDBS BankessDOCS and Standard Chartered Bank, marking the first fully integrated paperless trade for Rio Tinto with a Chinese counterpart.

As the first paperless deal in the iron ore industry to be transacted in Chinese Renminbi (RMB), the trade signifies an important step within the market for supporting the RMB currency.

The collaboration between Rio Tinto and Baosteel also showcases how digital initiatives can effectively enhance the efficiency and security of cross-border trade finance flow, at a time when delivery of physical documentation can be more challenging.