Exporters and freight forwarders across the globe recognise the urgent need to embrace and accelerate digital trade to streamline their operations and improve productivity.
For too long, exporters have been drowning in a sea of complex paperwork.
The Australian Government and its agencies, the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade (DFAT) and Austrade acknowledge the many benefits that flow from digitalisation.
Australia’s peak trade membership body, the Export Council of Australia, also strongly supports the digital trade revolution.
Australia's digital exports were worth around $6 billion in 2017, according to the Export Council of Australia. That’s equivalent to Australia's fourth largest export sector – and this figure is set to grow.
TradeWindow, an innovative New Zealand-based IT company, is committed to accelerating global trade through its smart digital trading platform.
The company recently announced the acquisition of Sydney-based business Cyberfreight, as part of a concerted push to expand its footprint in the Australian region.
Cyberfreight is a Sydney based freight logistics software business that has been operating for more 20 years.
The company boasts a well-established customer base across New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Helping government develop digital trade policies
TradeWindow is encouraging Australian SMEs to embrace the benefits of using digital solutions for international logistics processes.
With offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia is now a priority market for the company.
And with a long-term goal to be the leader in digital trade technology in the APAC region, it has set up an office in Singapore, a key APAC trading hub.
According to DFAT, digital trade is not just about buying and selling goods and services online, it’s also the transmission of information and data across borders.
Data flows speed trade transactions and help to minimise risk.
And virtually every cross-border transaction has a digital element.
Digital trade provides more opportunities for Australian businesses to reach more customers across the globe as well as further grow the economy.
Eliminating the need for paper documents and emails
Andrew Balgarnie, Chief Strategy Officer at TradeWindow, agrees.
“Digital trade creates huge efficiencies in terms of time, cost and security of commercially sensitive data,” he told Dynamic Export during a recent visit to Sydney.
“It eliminates the need for paper documents or PDE (format) emails.”
Sending emails has created major security concerns worldwide, Mr Balgarnie says.
They can be easily intercepted and sensitive details can be changed.
“TradeWindow’s digital platform enables exporters and freight forwarders to securely share data with their supply chain partners.”
But technology is just one piece of the digital trade puzzle – it’s not the silver bullet,
Mr Balgarnie says.
To deliver end-to-end seamless digital trade there are three key elements needed:
- Technology (Robust, scalable and user-friendly)
- Government legislation (to establish guidelines and standardisation of digital trade systems)
- Data standard harmonisation (to enable smooth transfer of data from one platform or jurisdiction to another)
Using TradeWindow’s software product Cube, exporters can instantly share trusted data with permissioned supply chain participants including freight forwarders, ports, and government agencies, says Mr Balgarnie.
However, standardisation of digital trade systems remains one of the biggest challenges for global trade.
In a major coup, TradeWindow earlier this year was admitted to membership of the leading alliance for facilitating open cross-border digital trade.
The company is partnering with the influential Pan-Asian E-Commerce Alliance (PAA).
It joins a powerful network of networks across China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, India and Sweden to help promote digital trade throughout these regions.
Working with government
At the same time, it is working with key Australian Government trade agencies to develop digital trade
Mr Balgarnie says the Australian Government and its agencies have been “forward thinking” in their approach to digital trade.policies through submissions to DFAT on the EU and UK free trade agreements.
This includes factoring pro-digital frameworks into trade agreements and regulations such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a free trade agreement with Asia-Pacific nations including Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The government is being very progressive and very willing to listen to industry about the changes that are needed to deliver exporter efficiency, Mr Balgarnie says.
“And Australian customs is progressive as well.
“Hopefully, that all translates to a faster transition to digital trade.”