For today’s issue I want to feature initial reference materials on a topic that some industry colleagues and friends are inquiring about — the use of “cloud computing” technology” in trade facilitation.
The United Nations-sponsored Global Trade Facilitation Conference 2011 held in Geneva, Switzerland discussed, among others, emerging requirements and opportunities for paperless trade and cross border data exchange and insights into latest standards, and technologies in deliveries trade facilitation-related services such as “cloud computing”. The theme of that conference was “Connecting International Trade: Single Windows and Supply Chains In The Next Decade’.
The 10th World Customs Organization Organisation Annual IT conference in the US in May 2011 featured the theme “Cloud Computing: a new era for customs and trade”. Exhibitors and conference resource speakers discussed how developed and emerging economies can benefit from cloud computing even if they originate from different starting points of technology readiness and innovation.
In June of that same year, Microsoft was featured in a news article that highlighted a specific application of cloud computing in Southern African trade. The report noted that during the Microsoft eCustoms Workshop for Customs Commissioners and Microsoft Partners held at its Redmond Campus in Seattle, USA, on May 2011, a presentation was made on the Trans Kalahari Corridor Cloud Computing Pilot Project. The solution being developed by Microsoft will use cloud computing – on-demand provision of computational resources (data, software) via a computer network rather than from a local computer – to electronically connect customs authorities of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to allow for electronic data interchange of customs declarations. This way, an importer/exporter would only need to enter the customs information relating to a shipment once, rather than each time a shipment crosses a border. The system also allows for future integration of other border agencies such as health and agriculture, creating a ‘single window’ for importers and exporters.
Based on these developments, it will be worth taking another look at this new technology in our future write-ups.
Leo V. Morada is a domain expert on IT applications in Philippine port operations with 25 years’ senior IT management experience implementing technology solutions in port operations, electronic transactions with customs & port authority, and air/sea port community system applications. He is CEO of Cargo Data Exchange Center, Inc, a customs-accredited value added service provider. He can be contacted at email@example.com).