Sri Lankan exporters now have an auxiliary pathway to effectively engage with global supply chains via a one-stop-shop solution facilitated by Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, in partnership with e-commerce platform Cord360.com.
The timely initiative has engaged many of HNB’s partners to provide exporters support in key areas such as finance, logistics, packaging and market access through www.cord360.com. The platform streamlines the process and costs involved in particularly linking and negotiating trade with foreign buyers, benefitting especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who face greater challenges in such activities.
Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena graced the ceremony held to launch the event together with Export Development Board Chairman Suresh De Mel, HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Dilshan Rodrigo, HNB Deputy General Manager- Wholesale Banking Group, Damith Pallewatte and Cord360.com Chairman, Dr. Asiri Gurusinghe at HNB Towers.
“At a time where global supply chains have disrupted manufacturing and consumption, the project launched by HNB to support Sri Lanka’s export sector is commendable. The government and the private sector should work cohesively to strengthen the country’s economy by improving exports. I would like to thank HNB for launching a project which encourages exporters and increase much needed foreign revenue,” Minister of Trade, Bandula Gunawardena said.
HNB Deputy General Manager – Wholesale Banking Group, Damith Pallewatte said, “This represents an important milestone in HNB’s journey to ramp up our offering to exporters and provide holistic support, extending to areas beyond financing. The unprecedented volatility and disruptions due to the pandemic has resulted in the need for trade facilitation support – particularly for SME exporters. HNB has responded to this situation through proactive, comprehensive measures, strengthening the bank’s service delivery proposition in this area”.
The platform, which is now live, is expected to help increase Sri Lanka’s export earnings, either by exploring brand new markets or diverting ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ products from low margin markets to niche markets, which are among the country’s most critical economic priorities at present. The partnership also complements HNB’s ISO certified comprehensive suite of advanced, streamlined and reliable Trade Finance services proposition in Sri Lanka.
“The launch of Cord360.com represents a significant step in democratizing the process of establishing links with foreign buyers and conducting online trade negotiations with them, especially for SME exporters,” Cord360.com Chairman, Dr. Asiri Gurusinghe said.
“Online trade negotiation on a structured platform is very affordable. Hence Cord360.com can significantly reduce the cost of establishing connectivity with foreign buyers and trade negotiations for SMEs,” he also said.
The partnership with Cord360.com offers exporters a new digital path that disrupts and removes traditional barriers to international trade. This global online business-to-business (B2B) platform, created to connect buyers and sellers of export goods and services, allows Sri Lankan exporters for the first time to advertise in 10 languages.
It also allows exporters to post 40 plus industry products across six global regions and with the improved ability to focus on a targeted audience. Cord360.com provides a far better return on investment compared with typical advertising campaigns, hence allowing exporters to save a significant amount out of their essential expenses.
Cord360.com, together with HNB, offers a new paradigm of opportunities for Sri Lankan exporters, together with different trading strategies and the necessary financial solutions required for their international business transactions. These range from complete structuring of Trade Financing facilities, issuing of Letters of Credit (LC) and negotiation of export documents, to issuing of Shipping Guarantees and the facilitation of Entrepôt trade business.
The bank also liaises closely with export facilitation agencies such as Export Development Board, National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), Department of Commerce in order to clear potential obstacles for local enterprises to enter global markets.