- Plans to establish a "Virtual Baltic" electronic exchange were announced today by the Baltic Exchange, the world’s premier shipping market.
The Exchange is to develop its electronic exchange independently. It has commissioned Lost Wax, a UK-based e-commerce technology company, to develop the facility. It is expected that the new electronic exchange will be available to the shipping market’s world-wide membership and others by spring next year.
Peter Kitching, Chairman of the Exchange said today:
"The creation of the ‘Virtual Baltic’- an electronic exchange platform - is a most significant development in the Exchange’s long history. We identified the requirement for an electronic exchange facility as a key feature of our strategic plan a year ago and we evaluated thoroughly a wide range of options before deciding to adopt the independent route. We are working for the benefit of the shipbroking market as a whole and we intend to take this forward in co-operation with other providers."
"The Exchange is a unique self regulated market place and we were concerned to ensure control remained vested in the Exchange and its membership. We believe that the introduction of ‘Virtual Baltic’ will enhance and complement the traditional role of the shipbroker and that the strong, international recognition of our name and reputation will provide the facility with a formidable competitive edge."
The core feature of the new electronic system will be a web-based platform, which will enable the exchange of vessel positions and available cargoes between users. Facilities for searching and matching will also be available. Users will be able to access the electronic exchange from a standard web browser. The Exchange wants to ensure a seamless exchange of data between the electronic platform and the in-house systems used by member companies which are supplied by leading industry software suppliers including Strategic Software Solutions and Dataworks.
The existing Baltic Exchange website will be enhanced and incorporated into the new electronic platform. Lost Wax, which has specialised in building electronic exchanges, has been retained to develop the new Baltic facility.
Other elements of the core of the electronic exchange will include: search and retrieval facilities; a communications package which will allow informal and formal communications; and the display of Baltic Exchange freight market information together with other information within the existing website. A forward freight agreement trading system is also being considered.
In the next stage of development the Exchange will explore a maritime portal, supplied by third party organisations, providing access to all aspects of maritime commerce. Services would include general information feeds such as shipping and other news, commodity and forex prices. It could also include insurance and legal services; bunkering, procurement, and crewing.
For further information, please contact:
Tel: 020 7623 5501 Ext 2020
Mobile: 07967 663468
Or visit www.balticexchange.com
Note to editors
The Baltic Exchange is the world’s only self-regulated shipping market, maintaining professional standards, resolving disputes and providing market information. As the world’s largest shipbroking market, its members handle some 30 per cent of all dry cargo fixtures, 50 per cent of tanker fixtures and the sale and purchase of much of the world’s merchant fleet in a market worth some £5 billion annually.
Some larger shipbroking houses offer freight derivatives to allow their principals to hedge and take positions on future freight rate movements. It is estimated that the total value of this market in terms of equivalent freight is some £1 billion.
Lost Wax was established in 1996 and employs more than 80 people and is based at Richmond, Surrey. It has developed e-commerce solutions for a number of major companies in the UK and Europe including Egg, General Motors, Sony, Psion and Orange.
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