Commerzbank set up a trade finance innovation lab to develop payment and finance solutions based on new technologies such as distributed ledger technology, smart contracts and the internet of things.

The new lab is an extension of Commerzbank’s enterprise lab at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, which has been partnered with the company since July 2017.

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.

User-oriented researchers at Fraunhofer 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.

“Since the collaboration with Fraunhofer began, potential practical applications for the trade finance business have been identified and prioritized in consultation with corporate clients of the bank. 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. “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,” commented Prof. Dr. Michael Henke, institute director at Fraunhofer IML. “The solutions developed jointly in our innovations lab will blaze a trail for digital banking along the global supply chains of the future.”

The Enterprise Lab Center at Fraunhofer IML brings together science and business, hosting several subject-specific labs set up by well-known industrial companies in sensor technology, automotive, logistics, chemicals, pharma and telecommunications.

Commerzbank is the first bank to join the Enterprise Lab Center, which covers the field of financial services with a focus on trade finance business, i.e. processing and financing international trade transactions.