Trade and logistics are complex industries which traditionally have been manual in many of the processes. But in this digital era, those who still depend on manual work have seen their profit margins erode massively. And to meet high customer expectations in present-day competition, these industries have to move towards using technology, to improve efficiency and deliver what the customers need. vCargo Cloud (VCC), an Infocomm Technology (ICT) solution and service provider, offers trade and logistics related solutions to governments and enterprises worldwide, so that they can get started with the technology of today for a better tomorrow.
We wanted to know more about the complexities of these industries and the winds of change that have swept them, and VCC’s contribution in helping them deal with these changes. In a tête-à-tête with Desmond Tay, vCargo Cloud’s Co-Founder/CEO, we learned more about VCC journey.
Tell us vCargo Cloud’s story. How did you get started?
VCC started small, with only eight of us back then in 2013. The journey wasn’t easy but we have transformed into a well-structured, albeit still a nimble and agile team, with close to 200 headcounts now. Initially, we had to wear multiple hats – many of us multi-tasked. We had to be adaptable and flexible and simplifying global trade complexity was always our focus.
We started with trade facilitation-related solutions and began in Mauritius and went on to be appointed as one of the consortia leads by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for the e-freight@Singapore initiative. We have grown since then. From being headquartered in Singapore and having just one overseas implementation, we expanded into a global establishment with 3 overseas offices and 16 global deployments.
What are your company products and services?
Our integrated cloud-based platform, CamelONETM has been the gateway for trade between countries and businesses. The platform consists of a suite of interconnected modules to simplify global trade compliance and documentation. The platform has allowed stakeholders to trade and exchange digitalized information seamlessly and conduct their businesses more efficiently and cost-effectively.
CamelONE consists of three layers of solutions namely: Trade Facilitation related-Solution (B2B/G2G), Cargo Community-related Solution (B2B) and Industry-specific e-Commerce Verticals (B2C/B2B).
The Trade Facilitation related-Solution provides Customs Clearance Systems, front-end applications, and connectivity solutions to facilitate customs clearance, cross-border trades and information exchange at the government agency level. The Cargo Community-related Solution integrates trade processes and exchanges trade-related information between different stakeholders to increase efficiency and productivity and at the same time, it creates new business growth opportunities. And the industry-specific e-Commerce Verticals is a point-to-point, start-to-finish, one-stop, integrated solution matching buyers and sellers for them to efficiently and cost-effectively perform cross-border trades.
What do you think are the challenges faced by customers in the trade and logistics industry today?
There are quite a few challenges. Firstly, the systems used in the industry are isolated and do not support national or international data format standards. It makes it difficult for these systems to work and interface with external systems and the outside world. Therefore these systems are unable to work and interface with the outside world adequately.
Secondly, import and export rules, they are complex and differ in different countries. Because of this inherent complexity in trade processes, few users are familiar with them. Because of this unfamiliarity, traders often shy away from trading in these countries. In turn, this unfamiliarity drives traders away from trading in countries they are not familiar with.
And if you think of the logistics processes, they are equally tedious and laborious as a lot of information has to be exchanged, in a specific chronological sequence, along with many different sets of documentation. Lastly, many in the industry do not have the right knowledge and the resources to splurge on experimenting with new technologies. Hence, they are stuck with dated and old technologies.
And how has your company and its products added value to the trade and logistics industry?
It’s through our CamelONE. With CamelONE, we provide a suite of services that helps address these challenges. Users can select these services according to their business needs, to overcome trade barriers and complex trade rules.
For example, they can get freight forwarding service by stating their requirements and following a simple process, without needing to understand how the convoluted process works exactly. Same goes for other complex tasks such as permit preparation, preparation and submission of Certificate of Origin (CO), etc. And since CamelONE is a cloud-based solution, users enjoy the benefit of having constant technological refresh whenever new functions and technologies are added to CamelONE.
Moving forward, what is your company’s vision?
Looking ahead, we can confidently say that VCC is going to disrupt and transform the trade and logistics industry through digitalization,to simplify global trade. This is what we set out to do when we started VCC. Deployed in over 16 countries, our CamelONE has helped blur and overcome the geographical, digital and trade boundaries amongst countries. Our work is being recognized all around the world and we hope that our work makes trade and logistics processes even easier, for even more people, in time to come.
Desmond Tay, Co-Founder and CEO
Under his leadership, VCC has been one of the fastest growing companies on a global stage. His vision has helped the company make a landfall in South East Asia, China, Central Asia, Russia, and Africa.
Prior to VCC, he was the Managing Director at Visiflex Pte Ltd and BizLabs Pte Ltd. He played an instrumental role in these companies by driving their strategic business plans and partnerships. His previous appointments include Director of Technology at Genii Incorporated Pte Ltd and Vice President of Technology at 3rd Frontier Pte Ltd. He started his career as a software engineer at CrimsonLogic and Advanced Systems Automation.
A seasoned industry veteran, he pioneered the implementation of the e-freight@Singapore solution for Singapore. He had led the industry in adopting innovative technologies, including the implementation of the World’s first electronic Certificate of Origin Solution using Blockchain. Mr. Tay is also a member of the United Nation’s ESCAP Digital Economy Task Force.
“Founded in 2013, VCC is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Singapore, with offices strategically located in China, Indonesia and Kenya.”
"We are bold in our innovation, giving us the competitive advantage over our competitors, keeping us ahead of the game."