Future of Digital Marine Procurement Process

11 Apr 2023 | Capt. Vikas Vij | E-Commerce

Future of Digital Marine Procurement Process

In recent years, the shipping industry has undergone a significant transformation, and the digitization of the industry has played a crucial role in this regard.

With the advancement of technology, the future of Digital Marine Procurement Process looks bright and several emerging trends will shape the industry in the coming years. Let's examine the future of Digital Marine Procurement Process and highlight the key factors that will drive innovation and growth in the industry.

Smooth Process, Constant Updates & Availability:
Smooth Marine Procurement Process plays a crucial role to ensure proper functioning of ships at sea. Easy process facilitates communication between shore offices, vessels and provides real-time data updates giving increased efficiency and productivity. In today’s time, many shipping companies are still using traditional method of procurement which may sometimes have inherent flaws and limitations. For example, a ship calling at a particular port may not have all the required products with limited suppliers available, leading to loss of time and incomplete procurement.

Data Management & Reports:
Digital Platform allows both Buyers and Sellers to manage day to day data more efficiently. It makes it easier for Buyer & Seller to track orders and can help quickly by automation to find the right reports & history of their products for their analysis.

User Friendly & Cost Effective:
Digital platform is designed to improve the ordering process online and make it user friendly. Buyer(s) can select the products at absolutely reasonable prices with so much ease with maximum product information and comparison with similar products or different brands. Digital platform can help ship owners reduce procurement costs as there are multiple sellers.

Variety, Packaging & Timely Delivery:
With digital outreach worldwide and product layout with market experience makes it easy for Buyer(s) to choose and order any category of Marine Products through search engine. Products Ordered and confirmed on the portal are packaged well, with departmental tagging if required by Buyer(s) and packing list is displayed on the package. With faster turnaround and short port stay in modern days, complete order under one roof will be found waiting for the ship to berth and quickly transferred on board and it is convenient to check ordered supplies with packing list on each package department wise.

Writer of this blog is the Founding Director of Cart2Port Services, which hosts B2B E-commerce portal
www.shipstorespares.com, for whole range of Marine Products with market place experience.

Stores & Spares is solving the Marine Procurement Problem?

02 Mar 2023 | Stores & Spares is solving the Marine Procurement Problem? | Maritime Industry

Stores & Spares is solving the Marine Procurement Problem?

Digitalization has crept in almost every function of the company and the procurement process should be no different. The digitized procurement process is very different from the traditional process and reduces manual intervention unless absolutely necessary, eliminating all the inefficiencies associated with it.

How Ship Stores & Spares is solving the Marine Procurement Problem?

08 Feb 2023 | Capt. Vikas Vij | E-Commerce

How Ship Stores & Spares is solving the Marine Procurement Problem?

Traditional Procurement Process for the Maritime Industry:

Procurement management for companies in the Maritime industry is crucial due to the volume of transactions handled by the majority of these shipping companies. Most large shipping companies often have a centralized procurement function with their own employees and standard operating procedures that they must follow.

Traditional methods of Marine Products Procurement have its inherent problems. It is highly manual and therefore subject to several inefficiencies. Typically, the entire procurement process can take 3-4 weeks, mainly due to email communication. In addition, procurement quotations, invoices, and other important records are stored in emails or spreadsheets.

  • Ship is calling different ports and different set of suppliers not enabling continuity
  • Limited suppliers per port may be available to Buyers, pricing issues
  • Buyer may need to search for appropriate supplier
  • A particular spare may not be available; loss of time and high logistic costs
  • There is possibility of no success rate for some crucial spares
  • Quality, efficiency and pricing dependent on limited choices
  • Low chance of addressing grievance and lack of customer service after procurement

Digitalized Procurement Process for the Maritime Industry:

Digitalization has crept in almost every function of the company and the procurement process should be no different. The digitized procurement process is very different from the traditional process and reduces manual intervention unless absolutely necessary, eliminating all the inefficiencies associated with it.

Cart2Port Services Pvt. Ltd. has developed the niche Online Portal, a refreshing change with market place experience, competitive prices and portal serves the purpose of aggregating the various sellers by registering them on the portal, giving tremendous visibility and making it easy for Buyers to choose and order any category of Marine Products online and / or offline.

Digital Procurement & Principle of Aggregation solves the Problem by technology and filters:

  • Ample number of suppliers & products are available
  • Online Portal has vast variety of suppliers for global markets and provides continuity
  • Online portal enhances customer experience, investigates grievance & suitably address it
  • Online Search engine for marine products on portal makes it easy to search
  • Spares can be searched on portal easily without loss of time and logistic costs
  • Seller’s registrations of multiple suppliers of various machineries & equipment
  • Quality, pricing, packaging & timely delivery is monitored uniformly for all products

Writer of this blog is the Promoter & Director of Cart2Port Services which hosts www.shipstorespares.com
A dedicated B2B E-commerce portal for wide range of Marine Products with market place experience.

Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) 2.0

27 Jan 2022 | Capt. Anil Sarvaria | Maritime Industry

Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) 2.0

SIRE inspections, commonly known as vetting or Oil Major Inspections, are a reality of modern-day shipping for vessels engaged in carriage of Crude Oil, Petroleum Products, Chemicals and Gases in bulk. Charterers may require ships to
have prior approvals before hiring ships for carrying their cargo or they might carry out their own inspections through approved 3rd party inspectors.

SIRE was introduced in 1983 for tankers and has undergone a few changes since then. At present inspections, whether remote or physical, are carried out using VIQ 7. To keep up with the changing times, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) which regulates these inspections, is introducing SIRE 2.0 to replace VIQ 7.

SIRE 2.0, which will apply to tankers, gas and chemical carriers greater than 150 GRT, will digitise the process of inspections. In preparation of this rollout SIRE 2.0 introduction and Questions have been released by OCIMF. Further guidelines are expected in March 2022 and SIRE 2.0 is expected to go live in Quarter 2 of 2022. Introduction of SIRE 2.0 will also lead to changes to Harmonized Vessel Particulars Questionnaire (HVPQ). The present version of HVPQ is HVPQ 5 which will be replaced by HVPQ 6. HVPQ and SIRE 2.0 data base will also be crosslinked.

According to OCIMF, the new inspection regime will lead to a comprehensive reporting and assessment of a vessel and its complement by improving the quality of data collected during inspections. These inspections will be conducted in a digital format using a tablet like device. The inspectors will be provided a Compiled Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (CVIQ) and the questions will be answered in real time using this tablet. In case of issues with connectivity or terminal requirement prohibiting use of these tablets a paper based back up mechanism will also be provided.

In preparation for the inspection, Managers will have to upload information on the OCIMF SIRE website after an inspection is confirmed. This information will include - Ship’s particulars (some of it obtained from HVPQ 6), required certificates, Pre-Inspection Questionnaire (PIQ), relevant photographs etc. The CVIQ used by inspectors will be based on this information uploaded on the SIRE Website & will be unique unlike the VIQ 7 which has standard questions for each inspection.

The CVIQ will have graded responses to questions instead of just Yes/No/NA. For each negative answer the inspector will be prompted to assign this observation to Hardware i.e. equipment breakdown etc, process or procedures and human factors etc. and then a free text detail.

Only time will tell the response to SIRE 2.0 from the various stakeholder but this appears to be another step towards digitisation and rationalisation of root cause analysis of the observations raised during inspection.

Ship Stores & Spares Procurement _Best Practices

12 Jan 2022 | Capt. Vikas Vij | Marine Products

Ship Stores & Spares Procurement _Best Practices

Ship Departments

There are about 20 to 25 seafarers on a typical cargo ship. There are 3 main departments to run the ship i.e. Deck, Engine Room & Saloon department. Captain is overall In-charge of the ship & Chief Engineer is In-charge of machinery. Primary function of Deck Officers and deck crew is to ensure safe navigation, decks maintenance and loading, discharging & care of the cargo. Likewise Engineers and engine crew are for smooth running & maintenance of engine room machinery. Saloon department consists of Chief Cook and stewards for galley, pantry & cabin services. Deck department is headed by the Chief Officer and ably assisted by Second Officer, Third Officer, Fourth Officer at times and Deck Ratings. They together look into procurement of Deck Stores such as paints, paint equipment, cleaning material, de-rusting appliances, tools, hardware, protective clothing & foot wear, ropes & hawsers, tackles, lifesaving appliances, firefighting appliances, navigation equipment & charts publications, medical equipment & medical supplies, repair materials & other consumables.

Saloon & Galley procurement requirements are listed by Chief Cook and conveyed through Chief Officer for stores such as food provisions, crockery, galley equipment, general & kitchen appliances, welfare & recreation items, sanitary stores, bed linen and toilet cleaning materials etc. Engine department is headed by Second Engineer and he ably assisted by Third Engineer, Fourth Engineer, Fitter/Welder and Engine Room Ratings. They together look into procurement of engine stores such as lubricants, hoses & couplings, cutting and measuring tools, hardware, nuts & bolts, welding & gas cutting equipment and spare parts, protective gear, various repair materials, valves, cocks, bearings, packing & adhesives, electric equipment, machinery parts and spares among others.

Planned Maintenance Systems & Spares Inventory

Almost every ship has a Planned Maintenance System (PMS) these days. Besides work schedules for each ship component, there is also an inventory maintained on the software under use. Department head will always get an alert if during maintenance, inventory of products runs near minimum quantities at the threshold set into the system by the company or department heads.

Best Practices for Procurement

Master & Chief Engineer shall ensure that the Deck / Saloon & Engine Room department heads make their bulk procurement requirements as much in advance of a port call. Preferably 7 days’ notice or more is preferred by E-Commerce portal management to consolidate all requirements prior to ships call and keep all in readiness with shipping & logistics arrangement for the delivery at port of call. In pandemic times it also allows management to properly sanitize the products & packages as required. Each port & country is known for easy availability and reasonability of prices for particular type of stores. For example, Indian ports are best places for internationally trading ships for spices, pulses, cereals which have long shelf life and ship owner shall plan to procure in bulk quantity for months if not calling Indian ports on regular basis. It is also known that generally all types of ships consumables and spares are easily available at Indian ports at reasonable prices. Similarly, Singapore was once renowned for electronic goods, however now with various countries adapting free market models, India too has wide variety of all marine products of multi-national brands. All types of deck, saloon, and engine stores & spares are available at Indian ports.

Once the Deck, Saloon & Engine requirements are known, it would serve best for the ship owner and its procurement team to use an E-commerce portal for ship stores and spares with market place experience. With digital age, it is easy to go to the dedicated E-commerce portal for marine products with full description, specification, color, material, brand, product image and most importantly the prices displayed conspicuously against each product. Procurement team shall then add ship stores & spares by carting the products and Tag each product with department. This ensures that products belonging to each department are packaged together in one or more cartons based on number of products. There are generally numerous routes available to search the product and add to the cart such as Search Bar, Category & Sub Category product window shopping, going by the Best Sellers, Top Offers, New Releases and Quick Deliveries. Usually one can also add similar items below the chosen products. Based on departmental budget constraints and Order total available in the Cart instantly, one can always add, delete or amend quantities. Best advantage of ordering stores through E-commerce portal is that all ordered stores can be archived and reordered with amendments and addition / deletions at next port call.

Writer of this blog is the Promoter & Director of Cart2Port Services which hosts www.shipstorespares.com

A dedicated B2B E-commerce portal for wide range of Marine Products with market place experience.

SOLAS Regulations & Container Ship Fires

05 Jun 2021 | Capt. Anil Sarvaria | Maritime Industry

SOLAS Regulations & Container Ship Fires

The fire on MV X-Press Pearl once again brought to the forefront the inadequacy of firefighting on modern container ships. The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl was built by Zhoushan Changhong International Shipyard Co. Ltd of China for Singapore-based X-Press Feeders. The vessel entered service in February 2021 and was around 186 metres (610 ft) long. The ship was anchored off Colombo awaiting berth when on May 20 it caught fire. At the time of the incident it was reported to be carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid. Authorities battled the blaze for 13 days and finally on June 20 the ship sank while the attempt was being made to tow it to deeper waters. The fire on MV X-Press Pearl has once again highlighted the inadequacy of present SOLAS requirements.

The fire safety objectives of SOLAS are to prevent fires and explosions and reduce risk to life, environment and property, as well as contain fires in compartment of origin (SOLAS Part A, Reg. 2, paragraph 1.1). Following a series of fires IMO amended SOLAS regulation II-2/10, introducing new requirements for fire protection of on-deck cargo areas. With effect from 01Jan2016 all new ships designed to carry five or more tiers of containers on or above the weather deck shall also be provided with mobile water monitors, in addition to the water mist lance mentioned above and all other fire protection arrangements that should be provided on board as per existing regulations. Ships with a breadth up to 30 m should be provided with at least two mobile water monitors and ships with a breadth exceeding 30 m or more should be provided with at least four mobile water monitors.

The present SOLAS requirements for containers ships are largely the same as for other cargo vessels, with some minor additional requirements, as mentioned above, for container vessels constructed after 1 January 2016. These regulations do not adequately address fires in containers on deck which present their own challenges. The larger ships may have container stacks up to 30 meters high, so many containers will be out of reach to crew with fire hoses and the equipment requirement will be of limited value in most container ship fire scenarios. According to Shipping Law News 9 major container ship fires reportedly took place in 2019 whereas there were 10 such incidents in first half of 2020. These statistics suggest that there is an urgent need for change in the existing regulations. For protecting deck fires on modern container ships one has to move away from the concept of portability for fire fighting equipment. These ships, some of these are 400 meter long and 60 meter wide, must be provided with fixed firefighting equipment in way of container decks. These could be water based and capable of being remotely operated. Some of these could be fixed monitors on monkey island and bridge wings, if the bridge does not cover the entire width of the ship. Fixed water spray nozzles at deck level capable of covering the entire length and height of the container stack.As an industry all stakeholders – the classifications societies, the regulators like IMO, insurers and the ship owners must come together and do more than just shake our head at the statistics and blame the fires on misdeclaration of cargo. If this is not done in a timely fashion then we are not too far from a billion dollar loss in this segment of the shipping industry.

Indian Govt Plan - Nicobar Transshipment Hub

22 May 2021 | India Seatrade Correspondent | Political Maritime

Indian Govt Plan - Nicobar Transshipment Hub

The Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plan for a transshipment terminal and other infrastructure projects on the Great Nicobar Island, piloted by the NITI Aayog, has cleared the first major hurdle in its way. After a series of meetings in March and April, the 15-member Environment Appraisal Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has “recommended the proposal for grant of Terms of Reference.” The plan proposes the construction of a transshipment terminal, a Greenfield international airport, township and area development and a 450 megavolt amperes gas and solar based power plant on Great Nicobar, the southernmost and largest of the Nicobar Islands, and India’s southernmost territory. Earlier, in a meeting on 17 and 18 March, the Expert Appraisal Committee had deferred the proposal as it needed additional information from the proponent. According to the proposal, the International Container Transshipment Terminal will come up in the Galathea Bay, in the south eastern part of the Great Nicobar Island, only 90 km away from the western end of the Malacca Strait, the shortest shipping route between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

Transshipment involves offloading cargo from one ship and loading it onto another vessel to be carried to the final port of discharge. Smaller feeder vessels bring cargo containers to the transshipment hub from the ports which large container ships can’t access due to depth restrictions — many of India’s major ports do not have deep draft required for such ships. Cargo containers are then unloaded from smaller ships and loaded onto larger ships at the transshipment terminal for transportation to final destinations. In case of imports, large container ships bring cargo to the transshipment hubs like Colombo and Singapore, where it is unloaded and then loaded onto smaller ships, which can access ports with shallow draft. Moving containers on large vessels is preferred as economies of scale kick in, lowering the cost of operations. It brings down freight rates for exporters and importers, improving their competitiveness. Currently, nearly 25 per cent of Indian originating and destined container traffic is transshipped through foreign ports like Colombo, Singapore, Kelang (Malaysia) and Jebel Ali (United Arab Emirates).

More than 80 per cent of this transshipment is handled by Colombo, Singapore and Klang ports. Transshipment containers from India form about 45 per cent of Colombo port’s total container transshipment volume. As a result, Indian ports lose around $200 million of potential revenue each year. “This translates into an estimated total loss of Rs 3,000-4,500 crore to economy (assuming an economic multiplier of 2-3x for ports). The loss is even higher if opportunity to handle cargo emerging from other countries in the region is considered,” a report on the Sagarmala portal reads. Experts believe a significant portion of this container traffic could be transshipped through an Indian terminal in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, if one is built. The terminal could also emerge as a major transshipment hub for other countries in the region, including Bangladesh and Myanmar. A transshipment terminal in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — the most technically and financially feasible location is Galathea Bay — will be closer to India’s eastern coast, Bangladesh and Myanmar than Singapore and Klang, which currently serve as major transshipment hubs in this region. A 2015 report on the website of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways says nearly 70 per cent of cargo from Bangladesh and Myanmar gets trans-shipped in Singapore. At least some of this could shift to the transshipment terminal in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, if one comes up. At transshipment terminal in the Galathea Bay will very close to the 200-kilometre-wide Six Degree Channel, through which a vast majority of international trade transiting the Strait of Malacca passes. The region also has potential for deep draft of 18 to 20 m, which means the terminal will be able to service large vessels.

Although the Environment Appraisal Committee has cleared the first hurdle, it has suggested that the government also explore alternate sites. “The alternate sites than proposed Galathea Bay for International Container Transshipment Terminal should be explored through detailed studies with more focus on environmental and ecological impact of ICTT during construction and its operation, specially movements of vessels on turtles,” the Committee said.

Maritime Industry - Backbone of Global Trade

22 May 2021 | Vanya Vij | Maritime Industry

Maritime Industry - Backbone of Global Trade

Following was UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon’s message on World Maritime Day: Everybody in the world benefits from shipping, yet few people realize it. We ship food, technology, medicines, and memories. As the world’s population continues to grow, particularly in developing countries, low-cost and efficient maritime transport has an essential role to play in growth and sustainable development. Shipping helps ensure that the benefits of trade and commerce are more evenly spread. No country is entirely self-sufficient, and every country relies on maritime trade to sell what it has and buy what it needs. Much of what we use and consume in our everyday lives either has been or will be transported by sea, in the form of raw materials, components or finished articles.

Maritime transport is the backbone of global trade and the global economy. The jobs and livelihoods of billions of people in the developing world, and standards of living in the industrialized and developed world, depend on ships and shipping. The shipping industry has played an important part in the dramatic improvements in global living standards that have taken millions of people out of acute poverty in recent years. It will be just as critical for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the plan agreed by all global leaders for people, peace, planet prosperity and partnership. Yet the vast majority of people are unaware of the key role played by the shipping industry, which is largely hidden from view. This is a story that needs to be told. And that was why the theme for World Maritime Day few years back was “Shipping: indispensable to the world.” The theme focuses on the critical link between shipping and the everyday lives of people all over the planet. The International Maritime Organization plays a vital role as the international regulatory body for an industry that spans the globe. The importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today's global society makes it indispensable to the world and to meeting the challenge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ship Supplies - Traditional & Online Process

22 May 2021 | Capt. Vikas Vij | E-Commerce

Ship Supplies - Traditional & Online Process

Ships require ship stores and spares quite frequently. On each port call, there is invariably a requirement to pick up some store or the other. Stores are largely consumables and are broadly categorized as deck, engine, electrical, safety, cabin, saloon and food stores. Spares are generally Deck & Engine machinery & equipment including navigation & radio equipment. Spares are either full unit or sub component of the Unit. These are generally described by Model No. Part No. Serial No. as per manufacturer manuals available on board and in ship management offices.

Traditionally the process of procurement starts with Senior Ship Staff making a requisition for all types of stores and spares during the voyage and communicated to shipping company. Procurement department in shore office will review it and approve the requisition. Next process is to obtain ideally 3 quotations from Ship Chandlers (suppliers) available at the port. Quite often all stores and spares may not be available from one single ship chandler. Once the quotations are received, prices will be negotiated and purchase order placed with the short listed chandler. This is a time consuming process and has its limitations to get the price quotations from a limited number of ship chandlers known to the procurement department. All category of stores and spares may not and will not be normally available with one single seller of products. To Buyers delight, the Online portal with the name www.shipstorespares.com is a refreshing change of market place experience with numerous sellers posting their products at competitive prices for various ports and the portal serves the purpose of aggregating the various sellers by registering them on the portal and making it easy for buyers to choose and order any category of marine products online. This saves time and the complete procurement process is automated. The Buyer procurement manager can look for any product through its all products search engine and also by category type search. Prices are very competitive and quality checks are inbuilt at approval stage of products uploading. The portal also provides Advertise handle to the sellers including manufacturers to show case their company profile and products, which is displayed in registered Buyers’ space.

Marine Procurement - Online Ordering

17 May 2021 | Sanjay Gaonkar, CRM | Marine Products

Marine Procurement - Online Ordering

Marine Procurement refers to a long-term strategic plan to cost-effectively acquire the suppliers from a list of vendors who will efficiently deliver the quality products on time and will abide by the terms and conditions. Marine supplies procurement is a complex process including many factors like available budget, purchase timeline, possible risks, the total cost of ownership and many more. This process can be more complex and difficult to handle in the marine industry. Marine machinery and equipment need more attention and effort to prevent over-ordering or running out of stock at times. Over-ordering marine spare parts can bound your money and running out of stock can affect the efficiency and proper working of the ships.

The procurement of marine spare parts can be simplified by choosing an E-Commerce portal for Marine Products who will handle all the related matters efficiently and will make the experience hassle-free for you. It takes a lot of time and hard work to search for the leading suppliers, getting a quote, negotiating the terms, getting the required spare part and many other related tasks. Any emergency caused by the damage of machinery may result in delaying the operational processes of mariners. Engineers or fleet managers usually follow “no buy from outside” strategy to ensure the quality of equipment being used. In these cases, you should have spare parts in stock that can be used in case of emergencies or have contracts with suppliers who can deliver the required equipment as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Shipstorespares.com is one such online order taking system which helps the Buyers to automate the process and makes it quicker. Contacting the One Stop Online solution such as this, electronically can save your time and money. Instead of getting requisition and quotation, the search for spare parts can directly be done on the E-Commerce portal. Shipstorespares.com has complete transparency on product specification in great details and prices are printed next to Products, making it easier to compare prices and achieving cost and time savings and place order directly. Ultimately it makes it easier for the engineer or superintendent to make a decision to procure relevant parts. Strategic sourcing The concerned person should plan the procurement process fleet-wise instead of vessel-wise or office-wise. Strategically planning the sourcing activities can oversimplify the procurement process. You need to know about shipboard machinery and the related statistical data to make effective and quick decisions. The trends of procurement are changing in shipbuilding and the marine industry. People are looking for ways to oversimplify the processes and to save time for other important business aspects. Cart2Port services Group through its portal www.shipstorespares.com helps you in this regard by making available all the stores and spares that you need from their back end root suppliers. The wide range of available stores and spares, competitive prices and fast delivery services simplify the procurement process for marine industry as a whole.