International Single Window Environment: Prospects and Challenges

Publication | June 2017

An international single window environment will allow information sharing for both public and private sector stakeholders in global supply chains.

Various international institutions have supported the implementation of national/regional single windows. The next logical step would be to internationalize and make them interoperable to allow for greater collaborative information sharing. We review the legal framework necessary for implementing an international single window environment (ISWE) and, in that context, examine particular economic and financial aspects of the current developments. We show that ISWE is desirable as it could contribute toward creating a level playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in global supply chains.

We discuss the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) to identify prospects and challenges, and highlight the legal and economic viability of interoperability. We examine ASW from the transaction cost and information asymmetry theory perspectives to provide a methodology for conducting empirical analysis at country level. Based on the findings, we argue that the full potential of ISWE can be realized through the integration of transport and commercial requirements, thereby improving government-to-government, business-to-government, and business-to-business information flows. Nevertheless, such integration would require the ability to capture the complex relationships between various transport actors from legal and technical standpoints.

To illustrate this legal complexity from transport and e-commerce law angles, we examine the disadvantageous position of SMEs in relation to the use of electronic bills of lading and access to supply chain finance. A critical analysis of selected legal texts is made through the lens of recent developments such as distributed ledger and cloud technologies to suggest solutions for SMEs. The conclusion highlights that transport and commercial requirements in the ISWE have to be incorporated through laws made for e-commerce and not through a piecemeal approach that replicate the functions of paper documents in an electronic environment.


Additional Details

  • Industry and trade
  • Information and Communications Technology