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New Zealand-based supply chain SaaS business TradeWindow has officially launched, offering two innovative products to local and overseas exporters. 

The first product, TradeWindow Core, underpinned by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) or blockchain, provides exporters with a secure platform to move information between exporters and other trade participants in a frictionless way. The second product, TradeWindow Docs, simplifies the complex documentation preparation involved in export transactions.

TradeWindow has also announced the successful acquisition of Prodoc, a software company that specialises in creation of export document templates used by over 80 percent of New Zealand’s export sector. In addition, TradeWindow has taken a controlling interest in IVS Origin, a company with the delegated authority of the New Zealand Customs Service to issue Certificates of Origin to exporters.

TradeWindow is focused on rapid international expansion to provide exporters with easier access to key markets. To this end, the company has also announced it has entered into a MoU with Trade-Van Information Services Co (Trade-Van). Trade-Van is a Taiwan-based company principally engaged in the provision of IT services. Trade-Van’s primary business includes running the Taiwanese Government’s single trade window along with cargo clearance services, electronic commerce services, global operation services and internet government services.

TradeWindow and Trade-Van will focus on streamlining transactions between New Zealand’s exporters and Taiwan’s largest retailers – an arrangement that could reduce customs clearance times between New Zealand and Taiwan by as much as 10 days.

The commercial launch is a significant milestone for the company, says TradeWindow CEO, AJ Smith (pictured). “The launch of TradeWindow Core and TradeWindow Docs is very satisfying but is just the first stage. We plan to bring an entire ecosystem of products to market aimed at helping exporters conquer the supply chain challenges involved in getting their product to its destination in a timely, cost effective and assured fashion.”

TradeWindow has progressed rapidly over the past 18 months, undertaking customer pilot projects, seeking out partnerships to extend its market knowledge and capability, as well as securing funding from government and private investors.

“What we have done to date has piqued the interest of some of the region’s most experienced exporters carriers, banks, ports and airlines,” says Smith. “We are now in delivery mode and will be working to on-board customers and build out our product offerings so we can become a one-stop shop for exporters to comply with export regulations, minimise risk and protect their brand. All the products we are planning are modular, allowing customers to pick and mix what they want to use.”

Strategic investments

Smith says the Prodoc and IVS transactions are strategic investments that will provide both short and long-term stimulus for TradeWindow.

“The addition of these companies’ services within the TradeWindow platform will create substantial synergies in verification and documentation compliance for Kiwi producers. The customers we have gained by absorbing Prodoc and taking a controlling stake in IVS represent a majority of New Zealand’s leading exporters.

Prodoc’s customer base is primarily comprised of enterprise-sized customers including listed companies and large, privately held organisations. Prodoc is now collocated at TradeWindow’s new headquarters in Takapuna. 

Smith says Prodoc also serves Australian customers, a market in which TradeWindow is actively expanding. TradeWindow expects to open a sales office in Melbourne within the next couple of months.

“The offerings of our competitors in Australia and New Zealand are fragmented and not as comprehensive as what we are planning to provide. We are looking at further M&A activity in Australia to expedite growth in that market.”

Freight forwarders are an important potential market for TradeWindow as a significant proportion of smaller exporters outsource their documentation requirements to freight forwarders for execution.

The IVS Origin investment is important to TradeWindow allowing it to offer certificates of origin to exporters. “We can now offer this service and provide quicker turnaround times and higher levels of service through our digital portal,” says Smith.

New products

TradeWindow Core is a trade platform that allows exporters to quickly and securely transfer documentation between export parties.

“Traditionally, this process is a pain point for exporters because of the costs and delays involved in printing and couriering relevant documents, such as custom forms, invoices and certificates, between parties,” says Smith. “TradeWindow Core will speed up this process, providing immediate cost savings and efficiencies with information being sent in a systematic and secure manner.”

TradeWindow Docs is a ‘gateway’ product that is fully integrated into TradeWindow Core and helps automate important pieces of the workflow for exporting, says Smith. A SaaS version of Prodoc, it is deployed in the cloud and will be made available to customers for a monthly subscription.

Similarly, Prodoc provides enterprise-sized customers with an entry point into TradeWindow Core.

“TradeWindow Docs simplifies the onerous compliance processes involved in an export transaction and will appeal to smaller exporters, and those that are growing rapidly,” says Smith. “It is a first step in streamlining exporting procedures after which they can choose to adopt TradeWindow Core or one of our future risk mitigation products to further strengthen their assurance practices.

“We are aiming to create a data rich platform, where exporters can operate one or more of our modular products,” says Smith. “We believe there is considerable value-add for exporters adopting this model. With data easily accessible in the cloud and the right tools at their fingertips to digitally integrate their compliance workflows and assurance processes we believe we will have a compelling proposition allowing exporters to drive out more day-to-day efficiency, mitigate risk, and refocus resource allocation to higher value tasks.”

TradeWindow also has more products in the pipeline for release in the coming months. These include TradeWindow Track, which utilises the Internet of Things technology to monitor the safe handling of export shipments while in transit, and TradeWindow Assure, which provides exporters with full traceability of their supply chain.

Company history

TradeWindow was conceived in partnership with ASB Bank, with the company being an alumnus of the ASB Venturers, a business innovation programme focused on developing disruptive technologies adjacent to the bank’s core business. As such, TradeWindow has been built with enterprise clients in mind and has already gained ISO 9001 and 27001 accreditations.

The company was founded by current CEO, AJ Smith, in January 2018. It has a staff of 45 people in offices in Auckland, one in China, one in Singapore, and plans to expand locally and into Melbourne in the next couple of months.

Albertus ‘AJ’ Smith is a successful entrepreneur with a background in financial technology for insurance and personal loans. He has previously founded two fintech companies both of which he successfully sold, including one to a Swiss Venture Fund.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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