Hitachi is to launch a software product for connecting importers and exporters to the Bolero Internet trade finance system. Initially available in Japan, the Hitachi Gateway TF21 will be marketed worldwide in the second quarter.
Hitachi signed up to bolero.net in February as a corporate user and is currently linking its worldwide operations to the network. The new Gateway software is being launched following the completion of a $2 million, one year development programme.
Hirohisha Ohnishi, general manager of Hitachis Distribution and Service Systems, says that the TF21 package comes with a dedicated consulting and systems integration service that encompasses everything from connection to bolero.net to integration with corporate legacy systems. A trial site is already available where customers can assess the product, he adds.
"We believe that bolero.net is unique in allowing different vertical markets such as the automobile and steel industries to link into the same basic e-business infrastructure," says Ohnishi, describing the programme as a major step forward in the development of B2B e-commerce.
According to bolero.net commercial director, Peter Scott, a majority of the worlds leading international banks and container shipping companies are already on-board, and they are increasingly being joined by major multinationals such as Hitachi.
He says: "When one of the worlds electronic giants not only signs up to bolero.net as a customer, but invests in the development of a bolero.net product, it speaks volumes about the level of acceptance we are getting as an international trade standard."
A joint initiative between the logistics and banking communities, the Bolero system is designed to provide secure electronic transmission of business data and documents along the entire trade chain, from front-end order processing and management to back-end trade document exchange. The company successfully completed a $50 million first round of funding in December.