The new start up company SeaSearch is about to launch the first maritime platform, which breaks down the traditional silos in maritime thinking and provides services across the industry with only one entry point.
The new platform is a search machine, which allows vessel managers and ship crews to easily find information on suppliers, service providers and repair in the next port of call. The main focus is ships operating in tramp, which often arrives in a new port and need repair of on board equipment, new fresh supplies of food and the visit of one of the crew members to the local pharmacy, doctor or dentist. If there are no previous experiences of buying services in the new port, it is often a gamble to find the best repair man or get access to high quality fresh groceries. Often the ship owner is depending on the local shipping agent to arrange these things.
The new platform includes direct contact information to suppliers and service providers in each port. A rating of the service companies and suppliers registered in the specific port performed by other ships based on their previous experience with the supplier or service Company is available and the portal provides a favourite list, which is generated by the shipping company and can be shared throughout the fleet. The favourite list makes it much easier to benefit from previous experiences inside the fleet when ordering services. This way it is easy to click on the next port of call and select the services required based on brand and rating and being able to e-mail or dial the provider directly to set up the supply or service.
Because the portal is planned to provide global coverage, the Vessel manager may plan service and repair based on the ship's schedule and the availability of acceptable services at the different port visits planned. It gives a better overview and transparency of the service providers in each port. The shipping Companies can use the SeaSearch portal free of charge.
Suppliers and service providers will benefit from being visible in the ports where they operate and they can have a direct communication with their customers. When they perform good services, they will be able to display this in terms of the rating making them more attractive to new customers. They can easily indicate what kind of service they provide for which type and brand of equipment, making their service easy to identify. In addition, they will benefit from market intelligence and statistics provided by SeaSearch for the ports they operate in. This can be valuable information when planning business activities to expand or maintain market shares.
One of the key new features is the introduction of new suppliers and service providers currently not available in the maritime market. SeaSearch is currently planning to introduce direct access to online supermarkets, which will make it easy to order food and have it delivered at the quay side only paying the normal supermarket price for the groceries plus a small fee for special packing, with a guarantee of fresh meat and vegetables. Other similar consumer suppliers will be introduced over time on the platform to reduce the operational costs of the vessels. It is a win-win situation, because the online supermarkets will get access to a completely new customer base, who buys in large quantities and the shipping Companies may experience lower prices compared to the prices offered by traditional ship suppliers.
What makes the SeaSearch portal different to many of the current service and purchase portals in the maritime market is the way it is designed. The design reflects the actual activities and tasks faced by the crew at each port call and it addresses identified needs of the ship owners/vessel managers and it provides value to the suppliers and service Companies using this platform to promote themselves and their quality Work an products. The SeaSearch portal is designed to be expanded over time to cover any kind of service, supply and product. One entry - Total access.
The number of platforms and portals working across the maritime industry will grow and they will help change the way business is conducted in the maritime industry. They will tear down the traditional silos, which makes it cumbersome and time consuming to order goods and services, because the crew or vessel manager have to enter multiple websites to get everything in place and ordered. Keep an eye out for the launch of this portal. It is just around the corner.
Mads Friis Sørensen, M/S MARTA