A Swedish information technology group, Transtema AB, is launching a computer software package designed specifically for shipping agents and other members of the maritime community.

Because the Tradeware system is available in modular form, Transtema believes it will have particular appeal for smaller firms unwilling to invest too much in new technology.The four sub-systems that can be applied separately or in conjunction with each other cover cargo booking, freight documentation, equipment control and finance and administration. The product is aimed particularly at international shipping agencies representing a number of shipping lines or the carriers themselves.

Although the software package is designed to comply with Electronic data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Trade (Edifact), the recently adopted global standard for computer to computer communications, Tradeware can also meet the requirements of customers that are currently using different standards.

Users will be able to communicate electronically with EDI networks using Interbridge, a software package that became available earlier this year.

Launching the new product in London this week, Transtema Managing Director Claes Nilsson said the Tradeware product range was being targeted specifically at the U.K. market first. However, the company has just opened an office in San Francisco. Once that is fully operational, a U.S. sales effort will get under way.

Transtema, a subsidiary of two Swedish shipping companies, Johnson Line and Transatlantic Shipping, already has more than a dozen customers using the Tradeware system and calculates that the financial benefits are considerable.

A small company could save as much as $4,000 a month and a large firm up to $8,000 a month by switching from manual paperwork to computerized freight documentation, Transtema estimates.

Tradeware has been developed to operate on the IBM System 36, which comes in various versions to match the needs of a wide range of users. The system is also available of IBM's range of personal computers.