Shipping is in the midst of a new dot-com boom, argues the chief commercial officer of broking software firm AXSMarine in today’s Maritime CEO interview.
Stephen Fletcher has been with the AXSMarine for 11 years now, based in Singapore.
Picking up on Splash’s recent string of digitisation features, Fletcher says, “I think the very recent proliferation into shipping circles of the terms such as big data, predictive analytics, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, which are being freely used by many, is changing the way people think about the kind of solutions they may need.” Fletcher reckons the new dot-com boom is not only in shipping, but is a data boom about how it can be accessed, processed, interpreted collaboratively and ultimately used in a way to make better business decisions or speed up decision-making, something he and his team strive to deliver day in, day out.
“The biggest challenge in shipping, like any other industry, is change,” Fletcher says, adding: “People generally don’t like change but they do like improved efficiency. Software solutions providing a more efficient way of doing the same thing will get adopted by the masses, whereas I sense new solutions providing a different way of doing things not supported by the masses will struggle to succeed. We are all reluctant to do things in a way we aren’t used to or don’t like, so I suspect we will see the majority of these new initiatives fail and only a few succeed partly for this reason, and partly because they don’t own or have control over the data they need to succeed.”
The company is rolling out much new stuff in 2017, including a complete upgrade of AXSTanker.
There’s also a new Alphaliner upgrade going on while it has just launched a new distance table too, AXSDistance, as a new standalone product which Fletcher maintains competes “aggressively” price-wise with other offerings. Another launch AXSMarine is about to make is its first integrated email system, AXSMail. At the end of Q3, it will also have launched a brand new Cargo Manager module part of its dry bulk product AXSDry.
Building further on its data-sets & AIS-based tools integrated throughout all of its products, the software firm has just introduced TradeFlows, initially focused on the dry bulk sector. TradeFlows comprises years’ worth of data overlaying movement events on defined ports, berths and ship information.
“TradeFlows is a uniquely powerful search tool,” Fletcher claims, “allowing companies to immediately see what has shipped from where to where – pairing load and discharge information into distinct voyages. Simple to use, easy to extract data in summary form before drilling into details – TradeFlows bypasses the need to pay for raw data and development and maintenance of tools to process it.”
Fletcher says TradeFlows is aimed at those companies who may not have the necessary resources or time to develop their own trade analytics. “I expect it will be a game changer,” he asserts boldly.