Shipping firm does paperless importing

Seatrans New Zealand has developed a paperless import documentation system for some of its ships.

Seatrans New Zealand has developed a paperless import documentation system for some of its ships.

Offshoot CMA CGM Owens Shipping has been using the system for a month on its French operations and Seatrans is about to roll out the system for its Japanese clients.

Designed and written by Seatrans information systems manager Mark Hales, the paperless system uses Compaq Alpha running on open VMS. The environment is Cache from US-based Inter Systems.

Hales says the old system generated much paperwork between clients, Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), but this has now been replaced by email, saving up to two days in the documentation process.

The system follows the Port of Auckland container division, Axis Intermodal, shifting some of its processing to the internet. It also uses the company's website (www.cma-cgm.com) to give customers an up-to-the-minute status of the shipment.

Hales says the development cost was "minimal - in the tens of thousands", as it essentially involved himself plus IT staff at client companies working over several months, but it should bring major savings in cost and time to New Zealand importers.

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