by Emily Wilson
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Transforming bulk ocean shipping

LevelSeas.com is a new online exchange offering a secure, internet-based "life-of-the-voyage" solution for all seaborne wet and dry bulk commodity shipping. Comprehensive freight management services encompass market intelligence, on-line chartering, pre- and post-fixture activities and risk management tools. LevelSeas c.e.o. Richard Hext said the company aims to support the U.S.$100-billion bulk shipping industry by incorporating many back-office work processes on-line, including voyage cost calculations and port service arranging. Investors in the venture include Cargill, shipbroker Clarksons, BP Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell Group. "We see this as a tremendous opportunity to fundamentally change the way we and the industry manage our freight business," said Tom Intrator, vice-president of Cargill's transportation division. The company is based in Europe, but will have offices in "key markets" to reflect the international scope of the shipping industry.


Packed with information

A new web site launched this summer by Louis Dreyfus Canada Ltd. is packed with functionality for farmers and the truckers who move their grain. Louis Dreyfus said it is the first web site in Western Canada to provide online contracting for grain using real-time grain market feeds. Farmers can select a contract price, hold it for 10 minutes while they weigh their options, then send in their confirmed contract if they decide to sell. Truckers can log on and bid instantly for any posted hauling contract, then invoice Louis Dreyfus electronically. Eventually, farmers will be able to create personal pages to check on their own accounts and make direct deposit settlements.


Starch ingredients online

Cerestar, Europe's leading starch manufacturer, has created a web site specifically about cyclodextrins — a type of modified starch capable of carrying active ingredients in its unique ring-like structure. The site offers an overview of how the physical and chemical properties of cyclodextrins can be used to stabilize food ingredients such as vitamins and flavors, control the release of active compounds in pharmaceutical formulations, improve solubility of petrochemicals and capture malodors.

www.betadexcyclodextrin.com or www.cerestar.com