Tradelink Electronic Commerce took a step closer to a date with the stock exchange yesterday when its management finalised a long-awaited deal with the government to operate a digital trade transport network. DTTN, a majority-owned Tradelink subsidiary, was awarded a 15-year franchise to operate the network, which will have an effective monopoly on the electronic submission of trade-related documents ranging from export licences and certificates of origin to trade declarations. It also will be an 'e-hub' through which the flow of cargo and documentation from private-sector trade management systems such as the marine terminal operator's OnePort and the airport's Cosac can be co-ordinated with government and customs regulatory requirements. 'The development of the DTTN platform is well on its way to being completed and we will soon be putting it through vigorous and thorough testing,' said Tradelink chief executive Justin Yue. He said pilot tests would begin before the end of the year. Tradelink, which will own 51 per cent of the company, is targeting an October listing on the exchange to raise as much as $250 million and pare down the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau's stake in the parent to 15 per cent from 42 per cent, according to a banking source. The offering will also include 25 per cent new shares, the source said. The government will take a 21 per cent stake in DTTN, while Tradelink is talking to six 'representative industry bodies' to place the remaining 28 per cent of the company, which was incorporated last year with working capital of $150 million. It is understood that Microsoft had inquired about taking a stake in the company, but was turned away by Tradelink management.