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Top Grain Traders Seek to Modernize Global Trades

ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LDC investigating ways to standardize, digitize global ag shipping transactions

Driven by opportunities to increase transparency and efficiency for customers, global agribusinesses are turning to emerging digital technologies – including blockchain and artificial intelligence options – to reduce resource- and time-intensive processes associated with the global agricultural commodity value chain.

Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bunge Limited, Cargill Inc., and Louis Dreyfus Company are investigating ways to standardize and digitize global agricultural shipping transactions for the benefit of the entire industry. The companies also seek broad-based industry participation to promote global access and adoption.

Initially, ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LDC are focused on technologies to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, as they represent a highly manual and costly part of the supply chain, with the industry spending significant amounts of money every year moving documents around the globe. Eliminating inefficiencies would lead to shorter document-processing times, reduced wait times and better end-to-end contracting visibility.

Longer term, the companies want to drive greater reliability, efficiency and transparency by replacing other manual, paper-based processes tied to contracts, invoices and payments, with a more modern, digitally based approach. Specific benefits would include:

  • Improved quality and reliability of documents and data, with reduced review time and seamless transfer of transaction data to customers
  • Greater visibility across supply-chain movements underpinning transactions, leading to reduced costs associated with shipping, storage and wait times
  • Standardized data using technologies accessible to all players, driving further efficiencies
  • Compatibility with other applications supporting electronic and digital solutions, providing an end-to-end experience for users
  • Increased efficiency and transparency, enabling the industry to better serve its customers and consumers

“We’re pleased to join the effort to foster modernization and standardization of data and documents in the global agribusiness value chain," says Juan Luciano, ADM’s chairman and CEO. "By working together to design and implement a digital transformation, we will bring hundreds of years of collective knowledge and experience to simplify processes and reduce errors for the benefit of the entire industry."

Soren Schroder, Bunge’s CEO, adds, “We expect an industry-wide initiative of this nature to be able to accelerate improvements in data management and business processes, and bring much-needed automation to the industry. Promising technologies will not only provide synergies and efficiencies for ourselves, we believe they will prove vitally important to serving customers better by laying the foundation to enable greater transparency.”

David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO, said agriculture has always been a technology industry.

"Farmers and our customers expect us to deliver innovations that make them more efficient, effective and profitable," he sasy. "We embrace this as an opportunity to better serve the industry and ignite innovation through new products, processes and partnerships.”

Ian McIntosh, LDC’s CEO, noted that in January this year, LDC completed the first agricultural commodity transaction through blockchain, which showed the technology’s capacity to generate efficiencies and reduce the time usually spent on manual document and data processing.

"By working with the industry to adopt standardized data and processes, we can truly harness the full potential of emerging technologies to improve global trade," he concludes.

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