September 19, 2019 |
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Glencore Joins Grain Merchants’ Digital Project to Modernize Commodity Trade

Partners, including ABCD grain majors, want to move toward faster digital processes

The industry-wide initiative to modernize global agricultural commodity trade operations announced another major partner, Glencore Agriculture Ltd., has joined the effort.

"We've been interested in the initiative from the very early days and we're excited now to join as a full partner," says Glencore Agriculture Limited CEO David Mattiske. "The digital platform this group intends to develop will leverage the newest technologies and has the potential to revolutionize our industry, making contract execution processes more efficient, more accurate and more transparent. These advances are necessary for our industry to continue serving our critical global role efficiently and effectively, and the benefits will be felt by companies of all sizes along the post-trade value chain."

The initiative now includes Glencore Agriculture Ltd. as well as the ABCD grain majors: Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc., COFCO International Ltd. and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC). The coalition is initially looking at new technologies –- such as blockchain and artificial intelligence -– to create digital solutions to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, reducing costs needed to move agricultural and food products around the globe.

The group is projecting launch of the new platform in the second half of 2020 subject to regulatory approval.

"This effort is growing, and the reason is clear: we're offering clear and tangible benefits for the industry, created by the industry," the initiative participants said in a joint statement.  "Customers, partners and other industry participants appreciate both the potential that our platform offers, and the fact that we are partnering with them early in the process to ensure the entire industry's needs are met."

Since announcing the project in October 2018, the group has held workshops and roundtable discussions with a broad range of industry stakeholders, including shippers, charterers, buyers, service providers, financial institutions, trade associations, industry standards and regulatory authorities. By collaborating on critical issues such as security and data privacy, technology choices, business model, adoption strategy, and functionalities and capabilities, the group is ensuring that the new platform will meet the needs of the entire industry.

Next steps include development and execution, focusing on a pilot that will cover international bulk shipments of soybeans from Brazil to China. The group is also finalizing the selection of technology solutions providers and partners.

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