The system as described, based on the Bolero system,
is not an actual IT application or browser, but rather provides an 'electronic
highway' between the different parties in the electronic community. In short, it
is open platform technology. Like CHIPS or SWIFT, it can keep track of all
documents transmitted on its system (platform). It can provide proof of who said
what to whom and when, and it can confirm that messages, contracts, shipping
instructions, sampling orders, documents, delivery orders and so on were
received in a timely manner and in good order.
To access such an electronic highway participants
would probably use accredited application providers and possibly middleware
companies, using software that can be implemented as stand-alone document
packages, or integrated with back-office systems or enterprise resource planning
Different parties have different needs, so different
applications will have to be available for banks, carriers, traders, processors
and others in the trade chain. Different solutions also apply to different sizes
of companies. Bigger operations will need packages to be integrated with their
existing software, while smaller companies may not have the need, the knowledge
or the means to acquire sophisticated software.
In future even the smallest exporter will
undoubtedly be able to link into the electronic highway, either through an
e-commerce site or by simply buying into an appropriate service through a bank
or other service provider. This will certainly be the case in countries with
well-developed and easy Internet access, provided customs and other government
authorities are in agreement and the necessary legal steps have been completed.
Banks in coffee producing countries are likely candidates to take a direct
interest as they then could retail the service to individual clients on a user
To note again though that any electronic document
handling system will have to be able to link up with the electronic Bill of
Lading solutions that major shipping companies are likely to come up with.