Maltrans takes the middle path

Maltrans Shipping in Jordan has successfully converted applications from Cobol to J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) powered by middleware from IBM. The migration, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, was implemented by the Jordanian UBM (United Business Machines).

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  July 13, 2004

Maltrans Shipping in Jordan has successfully converted applications from Cobol to J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition). The migration the first of its kind in the Kingdom, which was implemented by the Jordanian UBM (United Business Machines) is powered by middleware from IBM. “With the rapid growth of our business, and the competitive situation in the market, the enhancement of the system was a must,” says Nabil Khatib, Maltrans chairman managing director of Maltrans. The 20-year old company offers transportation, shipping services, airfreight, clearing and forwarding by sea, air and land for complete door-to-door service was faced with the limitations of legacy applications. “Our business is very sensitive as we have to be very accurate when dealing with customers and cannot afford the space or time for any mistakes. The internal and shipping systems required a complete redesign and rebuilding, buying a new application was not a practical solution for us. Today, the new system is up and running, we can easily rely on visual aids and at the same time check our system externally. The upgrade of the software will enable us to further enhance our services, and add value to our customers,” explains Khatib. The Common Business Oriented Language (Cobol) is a language developed back in 1959 and still used by some businesses. Although less often used today, it was well suited for writing programs that process large files and generate reports. While it is relatively portable, it is disliked by enterprises because Cobol programs tend to be physically longer than equivalent programs written in almost any other language in common use. Maltrans has been an IBM eServer iSeries customer since 1993, ever, since which they have developed all their applications using Cobol language. The expansion of the business required development for the systems functionality and appearance. “We are very proud to have handled this unique migration project, which not only is the first in the Kingdom but one of the few in the region,” says Georges Kaldany, UBM general manager. UBM has converted ten applications from Cobol to J2EE applications using IBM’s WebFacing tool, which runs on the WebSphere application server. This enabled Maltrans to benefit from better interaction using visual aids, deal with vendors via advanced applications and the data in the systems and deliver faster and better services to their customers can be integrated with other apps. IBM’s Jordanian Business Partner, UBM also developed a J2EE Web application to handle the user logins and privileges, developed special Java classes to handle displaying physical files, as well as viewing, releasing and deleting spool files. UBM also trained and provided various courses to Maltrans employees to enhance their J2EE knowledge and enable them interact with the new system easily.

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