State-of-the-art technology in service of the maritime industry
It was through our studies and our work-experience that we felt that we could express, articulate and eventually materialize the concept of an online digital chartering platform. Four years ago, we opted to henceforward offer our fullest measure of professional devotion to the service of the shipping practitioners. A thorough understanding of Economics, International Trade, Digital Marketing, Computer Science and Geography forms the bedrock onto which we decided to lay the foundations of our entrepreneurial endeavours.
In an increasingly interconnected world as ours, where distances and time are been compressed, we recognized that Information Technology is not confined to the strict science of database management and code writing. It is rather a truly inter-disciplinary field; a tool, a means, a kaleidoscope to help professionals decipher the intricacies of the shipping business and increase the overall ease of doing business across the industry.
Truth be told, shipping is an oddly fascinating industry. The motto of the Baltic Exchange and indeed of the shipbroking profession in general, namely, 'Our Word, Our Bond' remains fundamentally relevant to this very date. However, it clearly depicts an era when shipping arrangements were conducted quite differently, that is to say mostly by word of mouth.
When introducing technology to the execution of shipping transactions, adhering to the unique code of ethics that the industry has developed over the centuries has always been a matter of utmost importance. This unexampled set of morals is a blend of centuries-old traditions, customs and folklore. After all, shipping, to this day, involves the participation of many in a common venture. Connecting this multitude of people with increased efficiency and the streamlining of well-established processes is now well within the realm of technological capability.
Technologies such as autonomous ships or MASS (Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships), drones for conducting emission control tests and the practical applications of the blockchain technology have all started to enter the shipping vocabulary of words. At present we are not only able to digitalise repetitive and time-intensive tasks like paper filings and the archiving of documents, but it is possible to link ships' onboard systems with the ever-growing onshore digital infrastructure, with the view to enable ships and their cargo become the core component of the shipping industry's Internet of Things (IoT).
Big Data Analytics, the IoT and AI are not just some new pieces of technology. On the contrary, they represent a fundamental transformation in the way that we will enter into contractual relationships; in the way that we will make decisions, conclude dealings and establish commerce. When it comes to business, we are almost living in a pre-Copernican world of technological penetration. There are many opportunities as well as numerous challenges, including ethical ones, which lie ahead of us.
If leveraged effectively, leading-edge trends, such as Digitalization, Big Data Analytics and AI, have the potential to transform practices long unaltered and release resources to be put to more efficient uses. The adoption of the aforementioned technologies has the capacity to reinvigorate 'business as usual', offering the prime conditions for the nurturing of a shipping startup.
The monitoring of every ship that sails the high seas transporting dry bulk commodities, and the aggregation of their routes to produce trading patterns and employment trends required previously the amalgamation of an immense number of resources. This wealth of information can now be accessed and manipulated by experts, and shared with the shipping industry's many different jobs and professions. This use of technology enables a digital chartering platform to expedite the process of chartering a vessel while offering a unique set of information tools to all parties involved in the chartering process.
All in all, being a part of the wider supply chain, shipping will also undergo changes when it comes to digitalization. It is rather for shipping professionals to assess the forthcoming impact of digitalization and how they stand to benefit from it – how they can harness tech and focus on higher level revenue-earning tasks. In that respect, shipping startups are preferentially placed to help practitioners extract monetary as well as utilitarian value from the changes that are yet to come.