Singapore IT firm picks Toronto for North American HQ

TORONTO — A technology firm owned by five crown corporations from Singapore has chosen Toronto as the launching pad for the North American expansion of its IT services portfolio.

CrimsonLogic has been operating in Canada

for more than eight months but made its official launch on Tuesday. The company, which began 14 years ago as Singapore Network Services Pte., was originally part of a national plan to turn the country into a global IT hub. Last month, it changed its name to reflect its pursuit of overseas enterprise customers.

“”That (name) worked very well in Singapore, but it limited us,”” CrimsonLogic CEO V Mathivanan said. “”IT services are really what we do.””

Peter Owsiany, the company’s vice-president and general manager for North America, said Toronto was picked as its North American headquarters due to the city’s size, its proximity to the United States and its reputation as the Canadian equivalent of California’s Silicon Valley. U.S. offices will be added over time, he said.

Mathivanan identified e-government, health care and the legal market as potential opportunities for CrimsonLogic in North America, but it may get its first foothold in logistics. He said the company was already working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to create a paperless process for shipping air cargo.

Sam Okpro, the IATA’s assistant director of cargo procedures and automation in Montreal, said CrimsonLogic-designed applications may be used in a pilot project with carriers running between Canada and the Netherlands. Many customs agencies have traditionally required original copies of shipment documentation, like master airway bills and signatures on invoices. Under IATA’s plan, this paper-based approval system would be replaced by electronic documents, potentially reducing the time it takes to get goods across borders.

“”It makes international shipment the hardest thing to do, compared to you or I travelling,”” Okpro said.

Not all air carriers are capable of electronic data transmission, Okpro said, but those that do use electronic data sets called Cargo-IMP. Besides the airway bill, these could include the flight manifest, he said. CrimsonLogic applications could help translate these data sets so that computer systems at the customs agencies could understand them.

Mathivanan said CrimsonLogic would likely offer any software to carriers and freight forwarders through an application service provider agreement. “”They would be subscribers to the service,”” he said.

If successful, CrimsonLogic would be building on its history in logistics. One of the company’s projects in Singapore included the development of a single interface solution for importers and exporters called TradePalette.

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