Global Dairy Trade (GDT), the Fonterra-owned company that runs twice-monthly international dairy auctions, says it will offer a complementary, 24/7, online trading platform for buyers and sellers looking to deal in smaller volumes from June.
The introduction of "GDT Marketplace" would expand the quantity of dairy traded online, offering flexible access to a broad range of high-quality dairy products, GDT said.
Unlike the main, bi-monthly GDT auctions, GDT Marketplace will not provide market watchers with any leads on product pricing as the information will be private.
The platform will offer a "global shop front" to connect buyers and sellers and allow transactions of any dairy product, at any time, with no minimum quantity constraints, GDT director Eric Hansen said.
But Hansen said the main GDT events would still be the best place to assess where the market is.
"It is still our core purpose," he said.
Unlike the GDT auctions, GDT Marketplace would offer products through fixed price or closed tender listings, with Fonterra Co-operative Group confirmed as the first seller.
Hansen said the new platform was not specifically designed to be in competition with another New Zealand-based sales channel - the independently owned Cream.
Fonterra said GDT Marketplace would enable Fonterra to offer customers the opportunity to buy dairy ingredients online at any time.
Fonterra's managing director of global ingredients, Kelvin Wickham, said it would provide an additional sales channel for Fonterra's ingredients and would allow the co-op to meet growing demand for online, business-to-business transactions.
"We see this as an opportunity to grow our sales both with existing customers and as an ideal way to reach new customers over time," Wickham said. Fonterra will initially look to offer a small range of ingredients and add further offerings as customer demand builds.