Shipping should adopt new technology platforms for ship chartering and reduce the deluge of data that managers have to process, says Varamar Group founder and chief executive Alexander Varvarenko. During an exlcusive interview, he urged shipping to employ these platforms to improve transparency. “Shipping is global so we need a platform for everyone to interact,” he said. “Shipping needs to be transparent, but it is a grey business and this stops digitalisation. But this will be the next step.”
Mr Varvarenko is also founder of ShipNext, which has developed software that rapidly processes emails. He told Marine Electronics & Communications that this software should revolutionise the process of shipbroking and chartering, similar to the way Uber has changed taxi hiring globally. During an exclusive interview he said that in the first phase the software “uses processing and machine learning technology and maritime trading experience” to process thousands of emails per day.
ShipNext reads the emails that Varamar receives from cargo owners looking to charter vessels and automatically sends a reply with information on the nearest available ships for the cargo loading date and time. “Everytime there is a change in cargo details, ShipNext will show the closest available ship and calculate the most efficient in fuel,” said Mr Varvarenko.
He added that ShipNext would send an email to operators of these ships with a description of the cargo, port of discharge and loading date. “By the middle of March 2018, we will be able to automatically generate quotations from the available ships and send them to the cargo owner.”
"We will be able to automatically generate quotations from the available ships and send them to the cargo owner"
In a second phase of development, the software could become a trading platform for banks and trading houses. These organisations could generate a request in ShipNext with a cargo sold in a particular port and the program would provide ship-available information. “We could synchronise ShipNext with bank payment systems. Thus, once a deal is done online, ShipNext could instantly generate a charterparty,” Mr Varvarenko explained.
“We will create a transparent platform with cargo and ships fixed online. It could become an online auction with ships being offered on time charter and there could be valuations of ships.” Time functions could be included in another phase of development. Mr Varvarenko has spoken to Inmarsat about developing an operating platform that would produce fuel-efficient route plans that could be updated when ship and voyage details change. This could then feed into the details of the available ships for cargo owners.