Ship repair gets the Airbnb treatment

Newport Shipping has unveiled an online portal designed to ease the complexities of ship repair and retrofit works.

Digitalisation is making its mark in the shipping sector, with many bespoke online tools now being utilised daily to operate and manage the world’s merchant vessel fleet. Arguably however, the ship repair and retrofit sector has lagged behind in adapting to the digital age, with most of the work around these vital activities still being conducted via complex spreadsheets, layers of brokers and reams of paperwork.

It combines priority access, on-demand quotes, price stability and live yard availability

Newport Maritime Services (NMS) is a new way of managing ship repair and retrofit projects via an online platform. The NMS platform enables shipowners and fleet operators to obtain instant quotes for routine maintenance works, have real-time visibility of shipyard availability and get priority access to dry dock slots, all at the click of a mouse.

NMS’s managing director, Ege Akcasoy, said the new platform bridges the gap between shipowners and shipyards.

“We wanted to introduce an online tool that works in harmony with the people that make the ship repair sector what it is today, enabling greater transparency and thereby validating the trust and personal relationships that this industry is built on,” Akcasoy said, adding at a media briefing yesterday that the platform gave ship repair an Airbnb type of dimension.

Subscribers to the NMS platform will have access to instant quotations for a wide range of routine maintenance and repair works, as well as the ability to book slots at 10 shipyards in the Newport network with a real-time view on the yard’s current availability. The platform will also provide access to a full set of solutions in repair, retrofit and conversions with a low carbon focus from a list of Newport supplier partners.

“This is a potential game-changer for those responsible for the management of multiple vessels, empowering them with a level of transparency and control that more traditional methods cannot give, and also significantly de-risking the whole process,” the company claimed in a release today.

Akcasoy added: “NMS is a fully-automated booking and management platform for high-quality dry docking, retrofit and conversion projects. It combines priority access, on-demand quotes, price stability and live yard availability in a streamlined way that ultimately saves shipowners time and money. In addition to this, the visibility that the platform allows through each stage of the process helps to reduce risk and futureproof ship repair operations.”

Based on a perceived need for more flexible financing terms for ship repair work, Newport has implemented a deferred payment scheme that enables clients to defer up to 60% of the total final invoice over a period of up to 24 months after redelivery.

This pay-as-you-earn scheme, which requires no collateral, letters of credit or other bank guarantees, also includes all-in-one invoicing to Newport as the single contracting party that covers all costs of equipment, spare parts, paint and other items.

At the same time, Newport has in place a credit rating system to assess counterparty, asset and market risk that enables it to determine payment terms based on the client’s credit profile, as well as legal safeguards to ensure final payment.

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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