Japanese pair circle around new digital freight marketplace

Two Japanese firms have joined forces to launch a digital freight marketplace, matching cargoes with ships.

Called maruFreight, the new venture has been launched out of Stamford, Conneticut and is backed by trading house Mitsui & Co and Weathernews, one of the largest weather routing companies in the world.

The first release of maruFreight will be launched in June this year.

The platform will also provide both transporters and cargo owners with a suite of voyage planning tools, and a document management system.

“Through the new platform, cargo owners will be able to list their cargoes, whilst ship owners will be able to use sophisticated filtering and searching capabilities to bid for cargoes and take care of the transportation. This will open the commodity market to a wider audience, with positive benefits for all players,” the new company stated in a release.

The word maru (丸 meaning circle) is often attached to Japanese ship names.

MaruFreight will deploy a fully open IT architecture for the online exchange which it says will provide a “new transparency and simplification of the chartering process, resulting in market-based pricing for both parties and reduced ballast legs for the ship owners”.

Antonio Brizzo, a long-time executive at Weathernews, in both Europe and the Americas, has been named president and CEO of maruFreight. As part of the initial management team, he will be joined by Kazuyuki Shimozono from Mitsui, as executive vice president and COO of the digital marketplace, and from Weathernews America, Michael Greavette will become chief revenue officer.

“‘We have access to over 30 years of valuable data gathered from nearly 70% of the global shipping market,” said Greavette. “Now more than ever is the right time to create a digital marketplace where the most relevant data can be mapped for both shipowner and charterer alike.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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