INTTRA, an electronic booking portal for the ocean freight industry, formed a new advisory board with its customers to set standards for electronic payments.
Shipping industry executives, representing more than a dozen of the leading ocean carriers and global freight forwarders, signed a charter to participate in the Ocean Freight Industry Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment Standards Advisory Board following a founding meeting that took place in Hamburg, Germany this past November.
INTTRA said the board was formed to address one of the biggest challenges remaining for e-commerce: how to automate the business processes involved in bill presentment and payment.
Up to 25 percent or more of all invoices have one or more errors and the processing cost of a paper invoice can be as much as $50 or higher, according to INTTRA.
"The invoice-to-payment process includes many manual steps. That limits accuracy and increases operational costs. In addition, customers have had to navigate multiple systems across the industry when doing business with different carriers," said Steen Erik Larsen, senior director, Maersk Line.
One of the first initiatives of the EIPP Standards Advisory Board will be to prioritize and address leading causes of "friction" within the EIPP process, such as the inefficiencies of the dispute management process. Members have established five work teams to focus on key areas for process improvement and advance standards between carriers and forwarders.
"We see this challenge as an opportunity for industry-wide collaboration in order to increase operational efficiencies related to EIPP," said Stuart Tarmy, senior director, EIPP at INTTRA and executive officer of the EIPP Standards Advisory Board.
"We hope that carriers and other industry leading organizations will join the EIPP Standards Advisory Board and gain the benefits of working towards creating common standards that would allow carriers, forwarders and shippers to gain efficiencies, receive and pay invoices quickly, identify billing errors automatically and more quickly resolve disputes about payments," Tarmy said.
In addition to the work teams, the board elected a supervisory board to oversee membership recruitment and administration of the member charter. The supervisory board includes the executive officer, two carriers, Hamburg Sud and Maersk Line, and two logistics providers, DHL Global Forwarding and Kuehne + Nagel.