Transportation Faces E-Commerce Roadblocks

A national electronic commerce study, conducted by business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce technology provider Edifecs, shows that one of the biggest e-commerce bottlenecks among transportation providers is "enablement": the process of preparing a company, its internal systems, and trading partners to begin conducting online transactions.

Edifecs, based in Bellevue WA, said enablement is a time-consuming set of activities that involves a great deal of interaction via fax, phone, and e-mail, as well as visual checks to make sure e-commerce connections work smoothly.

The study, called Solving the B2B Ramp-Up Challenge, found that transportation companies need almost six months to establish just one electronic connection with one partner. The study also found that 46% of transportation companies currently conduct B2B e-commerce operation with less than 25% of their trading-partner base and that 77% conduct fewer than 15 processes electronically with their partners.

Edifecs' study also found that it takes transportation companies more than twice as long to establish e-commerce "groundwork" than those in other industries - an average of 399 days versus 188 days.

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