Best Digitisation Solution Highly Commended: TFG Marine Pte Ltd

Published: Feb 2023


Photo of Tan Yuet Yee, Trafigura Pte and Siang Hui Gan, DBS.

Tan Yuet Yee

Trade Finance Manager

Trafigura Group is one of the world’s leading independent commodity trading companies headquartered in Singapore, with a presence in over 40 countries. In 2020 Trafigura and two of the foremost shipping companies in the world, Frontline and Golden Ocean established TFG Marine Pte Ltd as a joint venture to provide competitively priced, premium marine fuels at key hubs along the world’s major shipping routes.

in partnership with

Electronic bunker delivery note (eBDN) provides finance using SGTraDex

The challenge

To create a strong competitive advantage beyond the 40+ licensed bunker suppliers in Singapore, TFG Marine sought an efficient process to track its bunker application and sales processes for financing through the digital exchange of data. Without digitalisation, the company’s current process relied heavily on the submission of physical copies of bunker delivery notes (BDN) and other supporting documents to obtain financing.

The pre-digitalisation process was cumbersome, typically taking a few days to a week as bunker suppliers had to manually deliver the physical BDNs back to shore for compilation with other paper documents before a trade finance application could be submitted. In addition, the use of physical BDNs posed a higher risk of incorrect data from human error and fraud from information fabrication because of the manual preparation by both the licensed bunker supplier and the captain of the receiving vessel.

The solution

DBS developed a trade financing solution incorporating real-time data connectivity with the Mass Flow Meter (MFM) data logger service provider used in Singapore’s bunker fuel market to support TFG Marine’s cash conversion cycle on its bunker sales.

DBS’ solution simplified the documentation and digitalised financing requests by adopting an electronic bunker delivery note (eBDN) issued by a regulated MFM service provider delivered in a ‘read-only’ format. The eBDN is provided for financing by using Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) as the connectivity channel that will include other documents easily from data-sharing partners utilising the channel. It eliminates the tedious process of collating physical documents from different parties for submission and prevents errors and fraud by removing human intervention.

SGTraDex is a common data infrastructure facilitating the sharing of trusted and secure data between industry players. In addition, it helps to digitalise the trade workflow and financing further. DBS co-created this end-to-end digital workflow with TFG Marine to enhance efficiency, provide greater transparency into the bunker fuel market, and build trust with shipowners and other banks, which are fundamental to the long-term development and growth of Singapore’s bunkering ecosystem.

DBS is the first bank in the market to finance bunker fuel shipment deliveries using an eBDN.

Best practice and innovation

SGTraDex went live in June 2022, and the eBDN solution provided to TFG Marine has been further deployed at an industry level to benefit the broader bunkering ecosystem. With partners such as Singapore’s Maritime Ports Authority and PSA Singapore, SGTraDex participants will be able to further validate the authenticity of trade with vessel and/or barge data where available.

Key benefits

  • Process efficiencies.
  • Return on investment (ROI).
  • Increased automation.
  • Risk mitigated.
  • Improved visibility.
  • Errors reduced.
  • Manual intervention reduced.
  • Increased system connectivity.

“This pilot project has allowed TFG Marine to demonstrate how the use of Mass Flow Meters, that we have installed on our barges in the port of Singapore and elsewhere, not only increases transparency for customers in terms of the quantity of fuel received but can also be adapted to provide real-time information as a digital bunker delivery note to counterparties including customers, the port authority, financing banks and port agents. Singapore is already one of the busiest bunker hubs in the world and will benefit further by utilising digitalisation to increase transparency,” says Kenneth Dam, Global Head of Bunkering, TFG Marine.

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2022 awards attracted a record-breaking 416 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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