Commerzbank Sets Up Trade Finance Innovation Lab

Commerzbank set up an Enterprise Lab at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Dortmund, in an extension of the partnership that has been in place since July 2017.

In the Trade Finance Innovation-Lab, new payment and finance solutions will be developed for the Trade Finance business based on innovative technologies such as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Smart Contracts and the Internet of Things (IoT), and made ready for the market.

At the same time, both institutions will play an active part in helping to establish a general framework and standards for the digitalization of international supply chain management and the related financing tools.

Commerzbank, one of Europe’s leading foreign trade banks, is the first bank to join the Enterprise Lab Center with its Trade Finance Innovation-Lab, which covers the field of financial services with a focus on trade finance business, i.e. processing and financing international trade transactions. From now on, user-oriented researchers at Fraunhofer IML from logistics, supply chain management and blockchain technology will work closely with trade finance specialists from Commerzbank and its research and development unit, main incubator.

The Enterprise Lab Center at Fraunhofer IML brings together science and business. It already hosts several subject-specific labs set up by well-known industrial companies in sensor technology, automotive, logistics, chemicals, pharma and telecommunications. These are places where company representatives and researchers work together to analyze current and future trends in logistics and supply chain management, and assess potential scenarios in order to develop innovations and forward-thinking business models.

“Since the collaboration with Fraunhofer IML began, potential practical applications for the trade finance business have been identified and prioritized in consultation with corporate clients of the Bank. Processes along physical supply chains can be linked much more closely to the financial supply chain using new technologies. In many parts of the supply chain, processes currently done manually are able to be automated and performed more efficiently. The Enterprise Lab Center provides exactly the right framework for us to step up our collaboration, which has been a success to date,” said Nikolaus Giesbert, divisional board member Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities and Trade Finance & Cash Management, Commerzbank AG. “From our Trade Finance Innovation-Lab, we will work on a cross-sector basis to make optimum use of the opportunities provided by digitalization, both in physical and financial supply chains.”

“We are pleased to have entered into a collaboration with Commerzbank, a financial institution with decades of experience in international export and trade financing. The core competencies of Commerzbank and Fraunhofer IML complement each other perfectly. So in future, our Enterprise Lab Center will also be covering the field of finance,” commented Prof. Dr. Michael Henke, institute director at Fraunhofer IML. “The solutions developed jointly in our Trade Finance Innovations-Lab will blaze a trail for digital banking along the global supply chains of the future.”

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