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TradeNet is officially launched 17th Oct 1989

TradeNet was first mentioned by then Acting Minister for Trade and Industry and Second Minister for Defence (Services) Brigadier-General (Res.) Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of the Singapore Informatics exhibition at the World Trade Centre on 3 December 1986.[1]

TradeNet is an electronic data interchange system that links traders, hauliers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, airlines and handling agents with government agencies like the Trade Development Board (TDB; now known as International Enterprise Singapore), Singapore Customs, and the air and sea port authorities.[2] TradeNet functions as an electronic clearing house for trading papers to be processed and approved by the relevant government agencies.[3] Philip Yeo, then chairman of the National Computer Board, posited that TradeNet would reduce paperwork and shorten the time taken for goods to move between the consignor and consignee, resulting in time and money savings as well as enabling businessmen to trade more competitively in the global market.[4]

In March 1988, Singapore Network Services Pte Ltd, a company jointly owned by the TDB, Telecommunication Authority of Singapore, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Port of Singapore Authority, was incorporated to specifically develop and operate the TradeNet system.[5] TradeNet was implemented in stages, and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) was appointed the main contractor for systems integration and software development.[6]

A total of 50 companies participated in the pilot run of TradeNet, which commenced on 1 January 1989, making Singapore one of the first countries to launch an integrated system linking private companies to the relevant authorities for cargo clearance.[7]

On 17 October 1989, TradeNet was officially launched by Lee. By then, over 500 users, including importers, exporters, manufacturers, retailers and courier service operators, were linked up to the system, with plans to connect the system to international electronic data interchange networks.[8] At the time, about 34 percent or 80,000 of all business transactions in Singapore were already channelled through TradeNet.[9] It was estimated that when TradeNet is fully operational, savings earned could be as high as S$1 billion a year.[10]

1. Tsang, J. (1986, December 4). Brig-Gen Lee reveals details of national plan for IT. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. TradeNet for faster clearance. (1987, November 25). The Business Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. The Business Times, 25 Nov 1987, p. 22.
4. Chng, G. (1987, March 14). New electronic system to clear trading papers. The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. TradeNet system and one-stop solution shop. (1988, September 1). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Chia, W. (1988, August 16). IBM wins contract to design TradeNet system. The Business Times, p. 22 Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. 50 companies to take part in TradeNet pilot project. (1988, December 8). The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. BG Lee to officially launch TradeNet on Tuesday. (1989, October 13). The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Tsang, J. (1989, October 17). TradeNet poised to become backbone of Singapore trade. The Business Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. The Business Times, 17 Oct 1989, p. 12.


The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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