The Italian tanners association (UNIC), with headquarters in Milan, is to create a worldwide portal featuring raw hide and skirts. Due to launch in the near future, it will be grafted on to the existing LPONLINE platform created together with LINEAPELLE.The Italian tanning industry is one of the world's prime buyers of raw hide in terms of value, quality, and concentration. Therefore it has the potential to create a global Internet market that will accelerate trade and increase savings, since it will be managed by professionals and not third parties. In Italy, it is estimated that the turnover in the raw and semi-tanned market amounts to about $2.2bn out of a world market total of around $9bn. There will be 4,500 companies involved, roughly 2,000 tanneries, and 2,500 suppliers.The commodity parameters for sales will be catalogued and computerised in collaboration with those internationally supplying them. The portal should be fully operative by 2001.