Singapore has unveiled an ambitious S$50 million (HK$226.67 million) plan to build an integrated trade and logistics information technology platform, called InfoPort, over the next five years. InfoPort would automate the creation and exchange of commercial and regulatory documentation necessary for trade, and should boost the island-state's economic agenda as an international port and logistics hub, according to Lee Boon Yang, Singapore's Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. 'Logistics remains an important contributor to our economy, bringing in about 8 per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product). It is also a critical enabler, anchoring other high-value economic activities such as manufacturing and distribution hubs in Singapore,' Mr Lee said. 'It is therefore crucial that we continue to hone our competitiveness as a global logistics hub and supply chain nerve centre.' The integrated IT platform, slated to make its initial run at the end of 2006, will enable exchange of information between shippers, freight forwarders, carriers and financial institutions to speed up the flow of goods within, through and out of Singapore. 'Providing a single web interface for all trade-related IT systems, this integrated platform will help logistics players cut down on multiple data entry steps,' said Mr Lee. 'This means less duplication of manual efforts and reduction in human errors which will ultimately improve efficiency and time to market. The net effect is increased competitiveness for the logistics industry.' The Singapore government's investment will cover project development expenditure, assistance for industry adoption and other costs.