Local firms develop cross-border food-procurement platform in response to supply-chain uncertainties

Apr 29, 2020 06:15 PM

HOME-GROWN food-procurement player Singapore E-Business (SGeBiz) and logistics firm Alliance 21 have joined hands to develop a cross-border food-procurement platform for businesses in Singapore, at a time when the novel coronavirus outbreak has disrupted global supply chains. 

The platform, said to be a first here, will enable local food manufacturers and suppliers to source and trade goods internationally, widening their range of sources. Overseas meat and egg suppliers accredited by the Singapore Food Agency will also be on board. 

The platform is expected to be launched in June, six to nine months earlier than intended. The development process for the platform was sped up after other countries also experienced pandemic-triggered export and movement restrictions, which created supply-chain issues for local food suppliers. 

Roughly 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this sector are expected to benefit from the Memorandum of Understanding.

The group's chief executive, Edmund Louis Nathan, said in a statement on Wednesday: "This is a significant milestone for SGeBIZ as we continue to scale our tech capabilities to aid Singapore SMEs by providing a one-stop platform that will streamline supply-chain work processes to facilitate seamless cross-border trade." 

Alliance 21 chief executive and founder Benjamin Ong said the project will showcase the joint capabilities of the two companies, while providing a valuable end-to-end supply chain solution for suppliers and buyers globally. 

Aside from tackling the issue of limited sources, the companies added that the platform will help food suppliers mitigate the high cross-border logistics costs they typically face due to low export and import volumes. 

SGeBiz will integrate its payment solution with Alliance 21’s digital freight and fulfilment portal, so that customers and vendors can make and receive payments easily. 

Buyers onboarded to SGeBiz’s platform will also be able to tap United Overseas Bank's virtual-payment solution, where they can secure interest-free credit and extensions of their credit terms by up to 60 days. On the other hand, suppliers will receive payment immediately.

A multi-currency e-payment gateway will be enabled by the bank for cross-border transactions. 

The initiative is also supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore Food Agency and Enterprise Singapore.

Law Chung Ming, director for transport and logistics at Enterprise Singapore, said: “The business uncertainties brought on by Covid-19 have underscored the importance of digital tools to enhance supply-chain visibility and improve coordination between stakeholders within the supply chain. The partnership between Alliance 21 and SGeBiz will enable more SMEs to build resilience against business disruptions while gaining access to new global opportunities.”