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Single Windows: Outcomes, Challenges, Lessons Learnt & Whats the Future?

Interesting article by Kale Logistics Solutions part of IPCSA - International Port Community Systems Association GTDW Advisory Council Members and speakers at GTDW China Trade Development Week, 16-18 June Shanghai around the theme of Tradetech Interoperability for eTrade, Trade Facilitation, Secure Cross Border Supply Chain & Anti Illicit Trade

The article underlines an essential leaders topic to be discussed at GTDW China: Single Windows: Outcomes, Challenges, Lessons Learnt & Whats the Future?

As part of the GTDW China Tradetech Exhibition we invite leading technologies to demonstrate their capabilities and innovations for the future of single windows:


As international trade becomes the new norm, and whispers of an impending recession loom over business predictions, the Single-Window concept is gaining momentum in the logistics and trade scenario. The buoyant system assimilates a de-railed and complex process of documentation under the “one-stop-shop” umbrella, thus facilitating a swift and smoother workflow.

Serving as the ‘sole body of entry’ for every import-export and transit-related regulatory requirements Single Window facilitates inland and cross-border movement of goods and reduces national logistics cost. With its digital approach, SW assists the government as well as the traders in handling the red-tape intricacies of a complex and time-consuming trade process.

Single Window lubricates the rusted wheels of bureaucracy and straightens the ruffled cuffs of international trade up, effectively increasing national competitiveness.


The implementation of Single Window can transform your logistics with a well-structured and well-functioning process. Data from the UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) indicates the impact of SW in South & South East Asia shows a tremendous saving of time, money and process resulting in increased revenue and higher trader compliance. In Singapore, the introduction of national Single Window for trade called TradeNet unites more than 35 border agencies since 1989 causing significant gains in government productivity and revenue.


Smooth and swift transactions

The Single Window system works as a single portal for all trade-related matters, to disseminate the relevant information to participating governmental authorities or authorized agencies. The traders are hence benefitted by accessing and submitting all required documents/information in one place and at a time.

The one-time submission also erases the chances of errors or fraudulent data.


Faster & transparent processing

The online submission and approval of documentation in the single-window system make it easier, accessible and people-friendly. The digital process reduces paper transactions and increases the capability of automatic verification.

According to the UNSECAP data, in Singapore, the global financial center, the automated entry system reduced the processing time of trade documents from 4 days to 15 minutes.

By increasing the speed of data verification, the web-based infrastructure helps to accelerate the entire ‘application-submission-clearance’ process. Being digital and with very less of bureaucracy, the single-window system eliminates redundant processes and ensures more transparent and predictable processing.


Faster & transparent processing

The traditional paperwork always came tainted with cobwebs of trade regulations, processing delay, and unanticipated and additional expenses. Single-Window reduces processing and transmission costs by the use of e-documents.

Less paperwork decreased manpower, digital submission of export licenses, less delay at ports of entry, etc., reduces operational cost. The trade facilitation measures introduced as groundwork for SW development in Thailand, “eliminated redundant processes and reduced the number of days for export from 24 days (in 2006) to 14 days (in 2009)” – UNESCAP.

Improved productivity and smooth trade procedures initiate better foreign trade. Reduced corruption, better transparency, and better trade statistics also attract more investments and further the scope of international trade.


The entire maze of logistics gets a consolidated structure at the hands of the single-window system. Increased quality of data retrieval, elimination of unnecessary or useless procedures, less delay in the import/export procedures, etc constructively boost up the logistics and trade.

Predictable & Reliable

Managing trade and transit the traditional way was detrimental to its complex and often unpredictable nature. Custom clearance of import-exports, unexpected delays, and inaccurate arrival timings were frequent occurrences in the global supply chains. Single-Window casts out these uncertainties and makes the process much more reliable and competent.

Through the less complex and user-friendly infrastructure and processing methods, the administration is effective, staff productivity improved, and data reliability increased. International trade gets more utilitarian with effective resource deployment and increased customs revenue.


Digitization of the system makes the trade more foolproof with a lesser risk of errors and duplication. The single-window system addresses regular clogs like the red tape, the unpredictability of transport procedures, etc and quickens cargo clearance ensuring faster and prompt delivery of the merchandise to a happy customer!

The tracking possibility through online data adds to the security factor of transactions, especially in international trade. Cross-border business becomes more efficient with quicker validation and inspection.


Hong Kong – one of the most thriving economies in the world and the hub for international trade and investment – witnessed an annual savings of HK$1.3 billion from the automated information transaction system, while in the Republic of Korea, the same is estimated to be 1 billion and 818.9 million USD. The Korea customs service estimates that the introduction of SW brought some 18 million USD in benefits in the year 2010 alone with the overall economic benefit hitting 3.47 billion USD from the agency trade facilitation efforts.

UNESCAP reports state that these include savings from “transmission cost by using e-documents, improving productivity by automating administrative work and improved management, storage and retrieval of information and documents through the use of Information Technology.”

Single Windows: Outcomes, Challenges, Lessons Learnt & Whats the Future?

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