Utilizing Sea Transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans for Businesses

Knowing About Sea Transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans

Sea transport refers to the process of carrying goods or people across the sea using boats, ships, or other vessels. In most countries, sea transport holds an essential position in contributing to its economy. A shipping agent is a person who is entrusted by the shipowners or charterers to handle the shipment of goods and take care of the customer’s needs wherever necessary.

Shipping agents generally are involved with routine tasks of shipping companies like the transfer of crews or submission of documentation to port authorities. They are responsible for performing all the shipping duties of the crew at whatever port the ship may visit. To compete worldwide, the companies must start adopting Sea transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans.

How to Implement Sea Transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans?

In Singapore, the sea transport industry forms one of the main pillars of its economy. In fact, the sea transport industry employs a huge percentage of Singapore’s labour force, along with being a significant contributor to its GDP. Further, Singapore believes that adopting digitalization is the only way for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive and cope with challenges like rising costs and competition from other nations. With this innovative roadmap, businesses in Singapore can expand their reach to compete globally.

For improving the skills of Singapore’s maritime workforce and for increased productivity, Singapore launched the Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2018. The Sea Transport Ship Agency Industrial Digital Plans are aligned to the ITM and is a component of the SMEs Go Digital program to help SMEs go digital.

The Go Digital program includes the following:

  • The Industry digital plan (IDP) which offers digital solutions and skills needed for digitalization.
  • Pre-approved digital solutions to meet business requirements. Government grants for adopting these digital solutions.
  • The Start Digital Pack has essential digital solutions to help SMEs get a head start.
  • Consultancy services from experts will give their insights to improve your business.
  • Project managers will provide their expertise for implementing digital solutions.

What is the Roadmap for these Plans?

The Digital Roadmap for Ship Agency is a guide that will provide support at each step of digitalization. It consists of:

Getting Digital Economy Ready

It comprises of digital solutions that will improve efficiency and productivity. They are:

Online Portal for Service Booking

The online portal to simplify booking procedures for vessel owners, charterers, and shippers. The main features include the following:

  • A single stop portal for customers with standardized forms for booking.
  • The papers related to booking can be submitted electronically.
  • The booking confirmation will be simplified, and the proforma invoice will be automatically created.
  • Module for income management with capabilities for optimization of price and customer information analysis.
  • It will help to generate more accurate booking data and decrease the turnaround time for quotations. It will also improve efficiency and result in more income. Thus, providing better services to the customers and enhance transparency.
Enhanced Cargo Operations (Liner Agents)

The main features are the following:

  • Organizing the shipment data in a simple, readable format.
  • Enable automatic task alerts for each cargo type,
  • Enable automated documentation for shipping and simplify the process of reviewing.
  • Optimize the management of container rollover.
  • Make the maximum use of storage planning.

This will help in better decision making for cargo handling functions like transhipment. It will also lessen the use of manual labour, help to bring more accuracy in information related to cargo, and decrease the delays in execution.

Management of Port Call

To carry out functions like handling of the crew, customs clearance, and arrangement of ship maintenance services. The features are the following:

  • Automatic generation of necessary call information.
  • Automatic creation of workflow for agents as per call requirements with alerts for outstanding calls.
  • Internet-based applications for boarding officers.

This will result in better workflow efficiency and as a result, will improve the service speed and delivery. This will also help more customer satisfaction and also result in a minimum manual effort.

Management of Port Disbursement

Speed up and simplify the port disbursement functions and improve the control of cash flow The main features are the following:

  • Organizing the billing information.
  • Calculation of the port charges automatically using the data on operations.
  • Perform verification and approval of invoices.
  • Tracking disbursements.

This will result in improved management of cash flow and it will also decrease delays in invoicing.

Solutions for Accounting and Payment

The features of this solution are the following:

  • Create reports automatically for monthly or yearly closing, tax accounting, or financial reporting.
  • Check the cash flow and budget.
  • Simplifies the process of payment to creditors.

There will be a decrease in the reliance on manual labour for creating reports. The reporting accuracy will be higher, and there will also be better management of cash flow.

Reporting of Management

Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and utilize it to improve efficiency. The main features include the following:

  • Analysis of performance based on the collection of data related to finance, sales, and operations.
  • Dashboard for analytics with the capacity to create reports and visualize data.

It enables better management of business functions and also helps in improved decision making.

Management of Resources

Manage and re-schedule resources, such as Boarding officers. The main features are the following:

  • Assigning and scheduling of resources automatically.
  • Assign workforce to vessels based on requirements.
  • Provision to track and create alerts for unassigned vessels or duplicate assignments.

This will lessen the requirement of the workforce to assign resources. It will also reduce any problems created by assignment mistakes and help in the optimized allocation of resources.

Management of Documentation

Solutions for handling large amounts of email with functions for easy searching, archiving or adding files belonging to different systems across various offices. Features include the following:

  • Parsing, indexing, or filtering of emails.
  • Using image recognition for the extraction of data from files to join with other in-house systems.

This will result in improving and unifying the work systems of various offices. It will also enable better management and handling of documents, reduce the wastage of time on e-mails, and help to find them easily.

Growing in the Digital Economy

Advanced Management of Ship Agency

The main features are the following:

  • Merge with external platforms like PortNet.
  • Employ the use of predictive analytics for improved management.
  • Enable real-time tracking of cargo and vessel for ship owners, charterers, vendors, and shippers.

Thus, reducing the reliance on human effort and improving efficiency due to merging with external sources wth be possible with this. It will enhance customer satisfaction and help to retain them due to better transparency of service. This will also help to tap new business opportunities.

Management of Ship Agent Training

Provide training to ship agents at various stages of their careers. Its features are the following:

  • A platform that will adapt to the changes in the skill levels of the agent, seniority, and work efficiency.
  • A tool to design the content for training.
  • Analysis of the agent’s performance with feedback.

This will help in improving the job contentment of the employee and also enhance his skills.

Leaping Ahead

Blockchain Platform for Shipping Operations

Merge the shipping operations system to the international shipping blockchain platform. The features will be the following:

  • Enabling continuous sharing of shipping information and documents during the entire shipping life-cycle.
  • Simplify the approval processes.
  • Enable automation of transactions such as transfer of documents and payments.

This will reduce the delays in approval processes. It will also improve overall efficiency due to improvement in the sharing of information and the flow of transactions.

Use Drones for Document Delivery

This will enable delivering documents to vessels without the use of the workforce. This will help in better utilization of time and also the enhanced use of human skills.

Utilizing Sea Transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans for Businesses

Providing Digital Skills

As a part of the Sea transport Ship Agency Industry Digital Plans, training will be provided for all ship agency roles like Boarding officer or shipping clerk on the path to digitalization. The following are the two courses on which training will be given:

  • Tech Basics courses: Broad-based training for improving digital skills and awareness along with solution-specific digital skills for digital light users.
  • Tech Advanced courses: Higher level digital skills will be imparted to heavy digital users.

In order to support at all stages, SMEs can scan the QR code or use the IDP resources at their website. They may also buy digital solutions from the MPA website and avail of the MPA SME grant if required. They can also get advice from the Business advisor at the nearby SME centre or approach the consultants at the SME Digital Tech Hub.