ACTS, FinTech, Treasury

TechInSG V2.0: Chat with Serene Ho, Director Networked Trade Platform Office Singapore Customs

July 04, 2019
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TechInSG V2.0: Chat with Serene Ho, Director, Networked Trade Platform Office Singapore Customs

We are approaching the TechInSG on 18 July 2019. This year, we have managed to invite Networked Trade Platform Office, Singapore Customs to join us at one of the fireside chats.

ACTS spoke to Ms Serene Ho, Director of the NTP Office and got insights into their excellent work and exciting plans for the future. 

Enjoy the short chat below.

ACTS: “Thank you Serene and Networked Trade Platform (NTP) for joining us in TechInSG V2.0 that will be held on 18 July 2019. Some of our members know about NTP, and during NTP’s presentations at Eurofinance and SCF Asia Forum, we have heard the many questions and seen the high level of interest from the floor that the presentations have generated. Can you share more about the origins of NTP – how it came about and why did the Singapore Government decided to roll out this initiative?”

Serene: In 1989, Singapore took the first step to help digitise trade, we started with the launch of TradeNet. It was one of world’s first National Single Window, where all regulatory import and export permit applications and approvals are integrated into one single portal. This was based on EDI during the time.”

“Then in 2007, Singapore worked with the industry to develop TradeXchange. This was an effort to bring in the business or commercial part of the trade processes. We studied the landscape of the trade and logistics industry and found that much inefficiencies and fragmentation in the industry remained. For example, for one consignment of goods, it can involve up to 25 parties, generating more 30-40 documents with more than 60% of information being entered more than once! The development and integration of TradeNet and TradeXchange through the NTP will further synergise and streamline the processes and information across the value chain. This led to the birth of the NTP which was officially launched in September 2018.”

“The vision of the NTP is to ensure that Singapore remains at the forefront of international trade, supply chain and trade finance.  After all, trade is the lifeblood of Singapore.”


Dr Tan Sian Wee, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Finaxar will join Serene at the fireside chat on NTP at TechInSG V2.0


ACTS: “We have seen the actual NTP platform and have read about the actual cases that went live. How has the journey been so far? Are you happy with the results and what are your goals going forward?”

Serene: Since the launch of the Networked Trade Platform (NTP) in September 2018, there are currently more than 2,200 companies exchanging digital trade-related documents and data with one another. We also have 42 trade-related Value-Added Services (VAS), both government and commercial available on the platform.” 

“While our adoption numbers have been encouraging, there is still much to be done to continue raising the level of awareness and we hope to further educate the industry about the benefits of NTP.”

“One of the key design principles of NTP is to digitise data at source such that it can be reused downstream so as to cut costs and streamline processes to improve efficiency. It is with this principle that we have the free digital permit return service on NTP which is still not fully utlised by all importers and exporters.”    

ACTS: “Many of our members are Treasurers or from the Finance departments in MNCs and/or Corporations. Quite a number of us engage in trading, exporting and importing business, you can imagine the amount of real interest amongst our members. Can you share with us NTP’s plans in furthering the level of interests and understanding of the NTP?”

Serene: NTP has been working with the Economic Board of Development Singapore (EDB) to reach out to the MNCs and approximately 20% of the EDB engaged MNCs are already on board NTP.  Of course there is a group of them that might not be privy to NTP because of their offshore to offshore nature of business.”

“There are services on NTP such as the previously mentioned digital permit return and permit reconciliation that are beneficial to the finance departments of MNCs for GST reconciliation. We are also currently working with some of our MNC users to explore co-creation of new services that can benefit them through greater streamlining and digital data re-use. One of these initiative is the Multi-Bank Trade Finance Application Portal that we would launching sometime next year, that will help to simplify and digitalise the trade finance transactions, allowing NTP users to access trade finance products offered by participating banks via standardized forms in a secure format.”


Ginnie Chin, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Culum Capital will join Serene at the fireside chat on NTP at TechInSG V2.0


ACTS: “Any sneak peaks into your presentation during the TechInSG event? Will you be inviting any users to share their experiences?”

Serene: We work jointly with our VAS providers to outreach to our NTP users and would be happy to invite some of our them to join us and share on how companies can leverage the NTP for Supply Chain Financing to build better relationships with your suppliers.”

ACTS: “If there is one thing, apart from NTP, that you hope to improve for Corporate Treasurers and Finance Departments in MNCs, what would that be?”

Serene: The NTP is a one-stop trade and logistics ecosystem which supports digitalisation efforts and connects players across the trade value chain – in Singapore and abroad. It aims to help businesses to improve their trade efficiency by enabling digital trade through the use of and re-use of digital data.  Digitalization is the way of the future and beyond NTP, I hope that the adoption of this will improve the work processes for Corporate Treasurers and Finance Departments in MNCs such that it will also improve their quality of life.”

about author

ACT(S) is a non-profit organisation of individual memberships drawn from corporate treasurers and finance professionals involved in corporate treasury work. Members are typically in corporate organisations on the buy-side of the marketplace. Established in 1991 as the Treasurer's Club, the association has grown in numbers and spread. As Singapore increasingly become a treasury hub, membership now include group and regional corporate treasurers, treasury centre managers and other professional whose treasury activities cover a wide geographical spread.

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