Newport Shipping is launching a new service that aims to digitalise the process of booking and procuring shiprepair, conversion and retrofit services.
Newport Maritime Services (NMS) is an online platform, claimed to be the first of its type, that enables shipowners and fleet operators to obtain instant quotes for routine maintenance work and retrofits while having real time visibility of shipyard availability. By registering with NMS, owners are also promised priority access to drydock slots at Newport Shipping’s network of shipyards in strategic locations worldwide.
NMS managing director, Ege Akcasoy, says: “The new platform is being launched in a favourable business landscape in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has accelerated appreciation of the benefits of digitalisation within the shipping industry. We have developed NMS as an online portal to benefit both owners and yards and in many ways it is just like making an Airbnb booking, backed up by a host of bespoke, value added services.”
Newport believes that NMS will lead to much greater efficiency within the shiprepair quotation and booking process and points out that it will be supported by local project management expertise provided through Newport Shipping’s existing network. Extended payment terms are also being made available using the NMS booking system, which will aid owners’ cash flow, a particularly important consideration in these challenging times, and only vetted, high quality yards have a place on the platform.
Akcasoy adds: “While NMS simplifies the yard search and booking process for shipowners and operators, there are many benefits for yards as well. Shipyards spend a huge amount of time quoting for jobs but probably only secure a fraction of them. Digitalising and automating the process will save a lot of that unproductive and ‘wasted’ time.”
Yards will also have access to additional sales channels with the confidence that they are only accessing owners who have been pre-vetted by Newport.
The company points out that it has spent a considerable amount of time developing the new platform, working with various stakeholders to ensure it meets requirements across the sector. The process of signing up to create an account is simple and straightforward and is, the company stresses, free of charge. The service is open to corporate users only and NMS undertakes approving registrations within 24 hours.
Once registered an owner can initiate a service request by inputting the IMO number of the vessel, which is then identified using the IHS Markit database that NMS has entered into an agreement to use. This avoids the need to manually key in details of the vessel prior to seeking a quotation.
The preferred location can be chosen along with dates which can be selected from available slots displayed on an online calendar. The system will then recommend one of Newport Shipping’s partner yards based on the size of the vessel in question and customer specifications
The owner then moves on to the detailed quotation page of the site, setting out the requirements of the job, capturing various standard repair items as well as any retrofit options. Once this is completed, a quotation based on standardised prices for each item is generated and emailed to the owner who can then decide whether to accept and proceed with the booking.
However, Akcasoy stresses that: “This is not a price comparison website. That is not what we are aiming to create with NMS. Instead, we are working with yards to streamline pricing for repair items so that they are not engaging in wasteful price competition.”
Newport believes that while digitalisation has made great progress in the shipping industry generally in recent times, the shiprepair and retrofit sector has lagged behind, with much of the work still being conducted by using complex spreadsheets, layers of brokers and realms of paperwork. By offering a bespoke online booking platform the company aims to greatly simplify and reduce the complexities inherent in shiprepair and retrofit work.