The First Blockchain-Enabled Trade Finance Transaction Ever.

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Situation

DHL, a Fortune 500 logistics company, had the ambition to differentiate themselves in a competitive industry and combine their core product offerings with making trade finance solutions available to their clients. They looked for a solution to efficiently extend payment terms for their key clients and optimise working capital at the same time through partnering with banks and credit insurers.

Blockchain Technology

Challenges

The challenge was to deal with the fragmented financial market offerings, which forced them to work with multiple banks, platform providers because of risk appetite and funding constraints. Other challenges included:

  • Need to use multiple different platforms and portals
  • Painful, costly integrations
  • No fully integrated, automated solutions
  • No flexibility in existing solutions

Goals

The company’s goal was to create a future-proof platform for trade and The company’s goal was to create a future-proof platform for trade and working capital initiatives with the following three objectives:

Extend credit terms for their key clients without impacting or even improving Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and optimise working capital

Broaden their funding base and leverage transactional credit insurance

Deploy extensible trade finance solutions to their ecosystem

Easy and efficient connection to existing platforms of the participating parties through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)

Solution

The solution is the first blockchain-enabled trade finance transaction with financing provided by Standard Chartered Bank and credit risk mitigation from global insurer AIG.

The receivable finance program enabled DHL to help its customers extend their payment period while maintaining the company’s receivables at current terms. With the TradeIX Platform and its permission-based distributed ledger technology, DHL can have their invoices placed securely on the Platform, giving real-time visibility to manage customer terms and credit risk. All details of the invoice and the eligible insured amount are then securely recorded on the distributed ledger. The invoices sold to Standard Chartered Bank and credit insured by AIG.

TradeIX provided its fully automated and integrated APIs combined with its powerful rules engine and blockchain, with DHL benefiting as follows:

Single interface to multiple funding and risk mitigation options

Simple, secure integrations into existing systems of the bank, trade credit insurer, and corporate provide fully integrated, end-to-end solution; no new apps or portals required

Blockchain technology offers a single source of truth and powerful trading engine for assets, available in real-time to all parties now and into the future

Fully extensibility with the ability to add new participants, solutions, integrations with ease

Future Proof creating a foundation for flexible, integrated, highly-connected, and automated trade finance ecosystem

Blockchain Process Overview

The rules and workflow engine within the TradeIX Platform allow the logistic company to manage the following trade orchestration customised to their specific requirements.    

Uploading Invoice data: At least once daily, DHL is transmitting a daily activity report allowing for new or updated invoice data to be written directly to the blockchain via an API. Creation and management of the credit insurance rules and conditions for the trade finance transaction Based on the defined management rules, new or updated eligible amounts, unique endorsement IDs, the corresponding amount expiry dates and time stamps are written to the blockchain.

Setting up automated offers: The offer creation process is run automatically on an agreed schedule of days within a specified period during a business day using the latest invoice data and eligible amount from the blockchain. The TradeIX Platform uses CIP (Customer Identification Program) rules to package available and unexpired invoices into offers automatically. Once the receivables have been offered, the blockchain is promptly updated inclusive of the eligible invoices, constituting the commercial details of the offer for sale by DHL.    

Setting up automated bid rules: In a second stage, the platform automatically creates a bid on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank and auto accepts the bid on behalf of DHL based on the CIP rules. The bid includes estimated funding charges to include the purchase price, base rate, margin, network fees and insurance premium, with all the data updated on the blockchain. By using the rules and workflow engine, the TradeIX Platform forecasts the funding payment date and estimated settlement date to determine the funding terms and the estimated funding charges.    

Setting up automated funding: Each day, the TradeIX Platform makes an automated bid by creating a request for funding on behalf of DHL while sending the funding request to Standard Chartered Bank via an API. Upon receipt of the request for funding file Standard Chartered Bank promptly processes the invoices for payment and delivers the funding confirmation, which is updated on the blockchain.    

Defining settlement rules: Each day, the TradeIX Platform issues an automated settlement instruction to DHL for any settlement payments that are now due to Standard Chartered Bank. The settlement instruction includes the estimated settlement date categorised as:

  • Money Settlement
  • Dilution Settlement
  • Re-Purchase Settlement

The TradeIX Platform writes all settlement details to the blockchain including the estimated settlement payment date.    

Reconciliation and reporting: On a daily basis, the platform reads the latest invoice data from the blockchain as well as producing and sending a reconciliation report to DHL that details all invoices with the ‘open remaining’ balance or ‘funded remaining’ balance. In addition, the TradeIX Platform also produces a daily file including forecast dates and charges from the bid and sends the report to DHL.