Ocean Freight Exchange (OFE), a multiplatform marketplace for charterers, shipowners, and brokers in the dry bulk, tanker, and gas markets, is out to disrupt the way deals are done in large freight shipping by providing live vessel, cargo, and port information to anyone’s fingertips.
According to John Hahn, co-founder and CEO of OFE, the company provides deep learning/AI technologies to all parties in the bulk and tanker industry and the technologies parse, organize, and clean the unstructured and messy data online and in emails.
Before starting OFE, Hahn previously served as managing director of ocean freight at Noble Group and as a freight trader at Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
Incorporated in Singapore in March 2016, OFE has been accepted by Shell’s Idea Refinery incubator program. However, Shell does not have an equity stake in OFE, which allows the company to remain market-neutral.
OFE’s ShipRank product ranks vessels using algorithms which evaluate trading values and helps identify quality vessels that maximise value. By employing trusted methodologies used by commodity trading companies and ship operators, OFE calculates a vessel’s quartile, ranking, and dollar per day trading value versus similar-sized peers.
The shipbroking sector has already been facing challenges to stay relevant due to the volatile market environment while many people in the shipping sector see the encroachment of further digitalization in the shipping sector as a further threat to the traditional broking model with part of the aim of digitalisation being to displace intermediaries.
However, Hahn believes the role of a shipbroker remains as pivotal as ever.
“Rather than sidelining brokers, we optimise the shipbroking process by providing deep learning/AI technologies,” says Hahn.
“Our clients include shipbrokers and we value the work that they do. We have deep experience in the bulk shipping industry and have no conflicts of interest unlike some other software providers, so we are best positioned to provide complete solutions,” Hahn adds.
OFE’s network provides 24/7 brokerage services to help clients execute their trades and allow them to control data flow and transparency while leveraging off shared data sets. Its predictive analytics also reveal trading opportunities and find correlations between supply of vessels, physical freight rates, and FFA rates.
Currently OFE’s users include over 75 major trading companies and shipowners representing thousands of vessels.
“We believe that the best shipbrokers will be those who embrace the technologies which allow them to save time, be more analytical, and provide a better service to their principals. OFE services empower shipbrokers, among others, to use data and digitalisation to work smarter,” Hahn concludes.