Paper Companies Plan Online Marketplace



Three of the largest suppliers of lumber and paper products today disclosed plans to sponsor a business-to-business online marketplace for buyers and suppliers of their goods. The companies are looking for a technology supplier to actually build the exchange.

International Paper, Georgia-Pacific, and Weyerhaeuser say they expect the marketplace to be operating by year's end. The site itself will remain independent from the founders to attract a larger base of users, says Dave Paterson, VP for E-commerce for Georgia Pacific. "What we'd like to do is create an open marketplace that is neutral to buyers and sellers. We want the industry to coalesce around this," he says.

All three companies acknowledge that they do not have the expertise to create such a site and are trying to attract high-tech partners to bring the deal to fruition. "We're in the process of picking a technology partner," Paterson says. "We're looking for the tech world to really take a lead and help us."

Customer requests and changing market conditions prompted the companies to create the marketplace. "This is being driven by the business part of the industry as opposed to the technology part," says John N. Balboni, VP of E-business for International Paper. "At its core, the platform will simplify the transactions and information flow all up and down the supply chain."

The marketplace, which has yet to be named, will have its own board of directors and management team. The three founding companies will each have an equal equity position.

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