Hamersley Iron trading goes on bolero.net

The iron ore mining giant aims for paperless trading with the help of bolero.net and Westpac.

Hamersley Iron will move in excess of $1 billion of its iron ore trade through bolero.net, the online trade facilitator. The mining company is currently in pilot projects with two of its largest customers, both Asian, to move international trade documentation on to the internet. bolero.net will provide the system for electronic transmission of business data and documents along the trade chain. Westpac, the first major Australian bank to sign up with bolero.net, will be facilitating Hamersley Iron on its implementation.

Hamersley Iron looks to integrate its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into bolero.net, which will enable trade documentation such as bills of lading and invoices generated by the ERP system to be delivered to customers online.

The value of putting trade documentation online, says Andrew Crocker, Hamersley Iron's information system practice leader, is not so much the savings on administrative costs, but the value of integration and automation. Hamersley's ERP system generates supporting documentation for trade, such as payment invoices and bills of lading. These documents, under the legacy system, are then printed on paper and couriered or faxed to customers around the world. With bolero.net, however, such documents are sent electronically to customers and the information extracted and integrated into the customer's own ERP system. "It's about having ERP systems talk to each other," Crocker says. But the benefits of bolero.net, he says, don't end there.

"We chose bolero.net rather than other third party systems because it could conceivably be used by other major parties in trade, such as government parties, like customs," he says. Crocker also expects some "small savings" to be generated by going paperless.

Westpac, which has its own electronic trade transaction system, ImpEx, will act as one of the intermediaries and looks to also provide trade finance to Hamersley Iron customers.

Hamersley, headquartered in Western Australia, is part of mining giant Rio Tinto and one of the world's largest producers of iron ore. The majority of its iron ore goes to Japan, Korea and China and Europe. 

The first electronic trading documents through the bolero.net and Hamersley Iron system are expected to go through by July 2001.