Trading system ready for world stage

A new version of an electronic trading system developed for the New Zealand timber industry is about to be offered on the world stage. Ecomex, the company which developed the system, regards its success in the timber industry as a proof of concept for its product, which 'applies to any industry,' according to its director.

A new version of an electronic trading system developed for the New Zealand timber industry is about to be offered on the world stage.

“We’ve proved the concept and we now have a product that applies to any industry,” says Ecomex director Matt Barker.

“We’ve put up a mission statement on our Web page and we’ve had approaches from several countries. We’re looking at licensing the software, with a host machine in each country for internal trade, but international trade coming through our host system in New Zealand.”

Barker, who spent 20 years in the timber industry, set up Ecomex in 1995, to market product electronically within New Zealand. The company is privately owned, with 26 shareholders, many from the timber industry.

The initial DOS-based system had 60 customers, with timber trades ranging from a few hundred dollars to $150,000. Customers included forestry giants such as Fletchers, which has taken part in the beta programme for the new Internet-enabled version of the software.

Last September Barker set up a new company, Global Econet, to redevelop the software. “We employed a programmer for four to five months and when he’d taken it as far as he could, we sub-contracted to Co-Logic in Auckland.

Co-Logic director Arjen de Landgraaf says the new version has been developed in Delphi, with Java hooks. “We’re potentially talking about millions of dollars in trades, so the system has to be very secure. That’s why we chose Delphi,” he says.

Ecomex is hosting the system on Digital Alphas, supplied by BCL.

The company takes a 1% commission from both buyer and seller on successful transactions.

This compares favourably with current broker margins in the timber industry, which range from 5% to 10%, depending on the size of the trade.

“We’re looking for a joint-venture partner to take it to the next step,” Barker says.”We’re entering into discussions this week.”

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