Global food companies Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) are focusing on ways to standardise and digitise agricultural shipping transactions worldwide.

The companies will initially concentrate on developing technologies that automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, which currently cost the industry significant amounts of money.

Bunge CEO Soren Schroder said: “We expect an industry-wide initiative of this nature to be able to accelerate improvements in data management and business processes and bring much-needed automation to the industry.

“Promising technologies will not only provide synergies and efficiencies for ourselves, we believe they will prove vitally important to serving customers better by laying the foundation to enable greater transparency.”

“Promising technologies will not only provide synergies and efficiencies for ourselves, we believe they will prove vitally important to serving customers better.”

Removing inefficiencies is expected to lead to shorter document-processing times, reduced wait times and better end-to-end contracting visibility.

The companies intend to drive reliability, optimisation and transparency by replacing manual, paper-based processes tied to contracts, invoices and payments.

Cargill chairman and CEO David MacLennan said: “Agriculture has always been a technology industry. Farmers and our customers expect us to deliver innovations that make them more efficient, effective and profitable.

“We embrace this as an opportunity to better serve the industry and ignite innovation through new products, processes and partnerships.”

LDC CEO Ian McIntosh said that the company completed the first agricultural commodity transaction through blockchain in January.

The transaction proved that technology is capable of reducing the time usually spent on manual document and data processing.