Support for electronic ERAs

WA shippers and shipping agents are trialling a way of processing critical export and logistics documents online.

The system has been set up by Sydney-based company Tradegate Electronic Commerce Australia.

The WA trial began in March and has returned some promising results.

Seafreight Export Council executive director Michael O’Callaghan said the system had the potential to greatly reduce the amount of work exporters had to do to get their goods onto ships.

“For example, there has to be an Export Receival Advice for every container that goes across the berth. We’re trying to get people to send this to people electronically,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“Normally these ERAs are filled out by hand, and in some cases people can be sending between 50 and 70 containers at a time.”

It is understood wheat marketer AWB is taking part in the trial and CBH and Joe White Maltings are considering adopting the system.

Tradegate chief executive Andrew Robertson said there was a high level of interest level in the system from WA.

He said major stevedoring firms such as P&O and Patricks also had shown interest in the system because of its ability to generate ERAs electronically.

“If the ERAs are available online these comp-anies can do automatic terminal entry. The ERA can link with a transponder on the truck so it can be tied with what should be in the container,” Mr Robertson said.

The Tradegate system is being offered on an Application Service Provider basis, which means companies only pay for the software as they use it.

Mr Robertson said his company had chosen the ASP route because that is what most of its customers wanted.

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