New exchange enhances cotton marketing THE SEAM, the world's first truly online cotton marketplace, has recently completed its first week of trading, with more than 13,000 bales changing hands. This new neutral, business-to-business enterprise provides a total online trading platform, allowing buyers and sellers to initiate, negotiate and complete transactions on the Seam's website.

The Seam's first trade, executed on Dec. 8, 2000, at 9:00:20 a.m., was a lot from Maple, Texas, sold to a Memphis merchant for 55.16 cents a pound. Through the first two days of operation, the Seam traded 7,119 bales. More than 100,000 bales are currently offered on the system.

"Businesses involved in buying and selling cotton will find the Seam's technology to be robust and easy-to-use," said Louis Baioni, Seam CEO. "We've designed the system to speed-up transactions and reduce the overhead associated with moving cotton from seller to buyer."

The system is modeled after the industry-standard TELCOT technology that has been in operation since 1972 and has enabled more than 25 million bales to be traded online. That technology, previously available only to TELCOT subscribers, is now available nationwide through the Seam's website, www.theseam.com.

The operation of the system is quite simple - sellers of cotton upload their bale data to the Seam's site where cotton buyers browse the bales on the system or search for lots by specific attributes such as quality, price and location.

Buyers are immediately able to purchase cotton with the Seam's Quick Buy feature, or consolidate several lots for review before purchase.

Participants must complete a Participation Agreement in order to receive a user identification and a password. The Participation Agreement can be downloaded from www.theseam.com. Each Participation Agreement is evaluated prior to approval to ensure that only safe, credible transactions are conducted on the system.

The Seam is currently trading Texas and Oklahoma cotton to a nationwide network of buyers. Other territories are slated for trading first quarter 2001.

"What makes us dramatically different is our guaranteed trade feature," Baioni said. "The seller will be paid, and the buyer will be assured of delivery when cotton is sold through our exchange.

"Sellers will receive payment from the Seam immediately upon delivery, and the Seam will collect from the buyers."

The Seam is a totally neutral electronic global marketplace for the buying and selling of cotton and related products. The Seam's vision is to be the comprehensive marketplace for the global textile fiber industry. Seam users increase their profits through improved transaction process efficiencies, expanded exposure to potential customers and suppliers, constant access to real-time market information, and guaranteed trades.

For more information, call Kevin Brinkley at 901-374-0374 Ext. 15, or visit www.theseam.com.