Barge Digital Transformation Project

The industry group directing and funding this project includes representatives from NGFA and the following member companies: 

American Commercial Barge Line | Archer Daniels Midland Company | Bunge North America, Inc. | Cargill, Inc. | CGB Enterprises, Inc. | CHS Inc. | The Gavilon Group | Ingram Marine Group | Louis Dreyfus Company| Zen-Noh Grain Corporation

NGFA announced a partnership with essDOCS to implement a project that will digitize barge trading documents, such as bills of lading, so that they may be transmitted electronically – a huge cost savings to the industry

Frequently Asked Questions
Why were these groups selected?

The tech provider/vendor - essDOCS - was selected from a rigorous search process from a field of strong candidates for multiple reasons. including essDOCS' reputation, experience in the industry, and based on the fact that its proposal stood out as the best fit while being most cost-effective. 

What documents will be covered in the project?

In particular, the NGFA eBarge solution is expected to digitize the approximated 70,000 to 100,000 negotiable barge bills of lading that NGFA members handle each year. As this solution develops and expands there amy be other paper-based documents that could be incorporated. 
How long has the work been ongoing on this project?

General discussions involving a broad sector of the industry began after an open meeting in New Orleans in January 2018, when the need and benefits for digitization in the barge trade were widely recognized. Work in earnest involving the member companies and NGFA toward a solution, including scoping of the project and design and development of a prototype, began after a three-day work session in October 2018.
How would the digital system work?

The solution will be based on a customized version of essDOCS' CargoDocs DocEx platform. Work on the development of this platform has only just begun. 
Will it be available throughout the US or only on specific waterways to start and what kinds of products will it cover? 

Initially, the digital solution is designed to address barge bills of lading on southbound traffic for corn, wheat, soybeans, DDGS and soybean meal on the Mississippi River System, but it has the potential to be expanded in the future, including to other regions, such as the Columbia and Snake River System in the Pacific Northwest. 
What's next for the project now that the company has been announced?

Now that selection of the partner, essDOCS, has been announced, the work on the development of the platform is beginning with hopes that by the first half of 2020, user development and training is underway so that full development may be implemented.