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Reflections From the Latest Master Mariner to Join ChartCo - Andy Millar, Gives His Views On Maritime Digitalisation

Blog post   •   May 08, 2019 10:49 BST

Andy Millar, gives his views on maritime digitalisation

Andy Millar is an experienced maritime professional and master mariner with extensive cross-cultural experience gained by working with global customers, local organisations and partners worldwide. Andy was formerly at Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Survitec and has a proven track record of driving sales growth and profitability across multiple business areas. Andy joined ChartCo six months ago to head up the sales teams in EMEA and the US.

Firstly, can you share with us what attracted you to join the ChartCo business and give us an insight into what it’s like working for this digital organisation?

There are many interesting developments within the maritime industry, and I see digitalisation as an exciting field, where key opportunities lie. When I looked at the companies which are leading the digitalisation agenda within the navigation and compliance domain, ChartCo stood out for its market leading position and reputation. So, it was a natural choice.

I have found ChartCo to be a fast paced, innovating company, with the ability to respond swiftly to market needs and regulatory changes. I have been warmly welcomed into the business and believe the skills and experiences which I bring from my maritime background are providing a deeper understanding of the use of digital applications ‘in the real world’.

From your experience, how would you describe to maritime professionals the key benefits they can expect by adopting a digitalised and integrated platform such as ChartCo OneOcean?

Maritime professionals can gain significant efficiencies from OneOcean‘s digitalised and integrated solutions, such as the ability to access a full suite of compliance products in global navigation, environmental and safety management. Using such a digitalised and integrated solution means that real-time information is also provided to shoreside teams, enabling them to manage vessels without placing further demands on crew.

Using OneOcean, the most efficient route can be achieved by taking factors such as the desired arrival time, environmentally sensitive and regulated areas or the avoidance of weather systems into consideration. A range of optimised routes can be reviewed side-by-side, enabling Captains to make an informed decision on the best route to take – and the entire route weather forecast can be viewed without having to export the route to another application. Improved safety and decreased costs can be achieved.

As the maritime industry moves into an ever-more digitalised realm, the digitalisation of ship management duties are becoming more commonplace, but one of the great benefits is that crew are able to spend less time on administration, allowing them more time to focus on providing the best possible service. Furthermore, the automation of a wide range of weekly tasks, with detailed status updates, provides crews with a clear indication of when and where action is required.

Admiralty products form an integral part of the OneOcean platform, so mariners can readily access them without having to jump from one application to another. The single platform has been designed to be user-friendly, making it straightforward to learn and eliminating the need to master multiple software tools. This results in less time needing to be spent training crews on how to use the software. Essentially, using a digitalised and integrated product such as OneOcean represents a way of effecting dramatic savings in cost and time, helping organisations to become more efficient.

Maritime regulations are always increasing and constantly under revision. How does ChartCo adapt applications such as EnviroManager that have been specifically designed to deal with regulations such as MARPOL?

Many of the world’s largest shipping companies and managers take advantage of ChartCo’s EnviroManager. With the increasingly complex framework of global environmental regulations this simple application within the OneOcean platform allows the managers, Captains and crew to easily comply with the regulations. The regulations are becoming more stringent and awareness of the environmental impact of shipping comes under increasing scrutiny. We see countries looking to seek jail sentences for Captains and Chief Engineers of ships that have committed pollution offences, whether these have occurred in their waters or not.

ChartCo leads the field as the only company able to supply a full suite of maritime compliance technology to help customers address ever-changing industry regulations. For example, to comply with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, BWM Convention – a major piece of legislation put into action in September 2017 – the latest version of EnviroManager integrates all current BWM Convention information, including nationally-designated Ballast Water Exchange Areas.

How has OneOcean been received by your clients thus far? Are there any features that have been predominantly received as positive?

The most significant point of interest for Captains and Chief Officers has been the integration of ChartCo’s new Weather module. This enables the easy optimisation of routes, utilising the most accurate weather service available and overlaying the weather data onto Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs).

What benefits differentiate ChartCo’s new integrated Weather solution from other such applications on the market?

OneOcean’s Weather solution simplifies ETA, fuel costs and environmental compliance planning with a few mouse clicks. It does this by calculating and recalculating optimum routes and anticipates upcoming weather and sea conditions along with the Captain’s weather limit criteria. This enables safe navigation whilst minimising fuel consumption and emissions. Additionally, they can avoid the most environmentally sensitive and regulated areas, in line with best practice and their company’s regulation standards. In effect, Captains can see calculations for a comprehensive weather forecast covering the passage, from origin to destination, which can be fully integrated into the vessel’s passage plan from within OneOcean. OneOcean is the only platform that truly integrates weather and navigational planning.

You mentioned how the Weather module, and its integration with OneOcean, allows clients to choose optimised routes that will be safer and help to reduce fuel costs. Do you think this service will progressively develop into autonomous shipping and, if so, how will artificial intelligence factor into this?

The spread of automation throughout the maritime supply chain, along with an increased demand for autonomous shipping processes, has led to an increase in the demand for AI. It promises better efficiency, reliability, safety and sustainability for the shipping industry as a whole, so it’s clear to see that its influence will only increase. We are already living in an era where we can calculate optimised routes that are safer, more cost-effective and more environmentally-friendly, so AI will simply do more of the work, making it less hazardous for the crew and the environment by detecting hazards, utilising sensor fusion keeping the ship in the safest possible state and position within the given passage.

ChartCo OneOcean is a powerful, future-proofed platform. As an experienced sales professional, in which areas do you anticipate market growth, and what do you imagine industry professionals will be looking for in future applications?

In my opinion, as the market expands and the industry changes, more applications and services will be digitalised and integrated, OneOcean allows this to occur in a single, all-encompassing and user-friendly interface. As a maritime solutions business we can easily anticipate areas of market growth. Smarter applications for logbooks, vessel performance data, AIS and historic traffic and manoeuvring data, company environmental and performance rules will be upgraded in OneOcean to meet market demands.

What are the main issues arising in the shipping industry at present, and how can digitalisation and integration help to address these concerns?

Cyber security is a major concern that unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with digitalisation and integration: in particular, air gaps and the risks associated with internet links to ECDIS. Organisations must ensure that they have sufficient security applications in place and that these can be clearly controlled. We see that awareness for cyber security and data protection initiatives are significantly lacking in the marine industry. CTOs and CCOs need to make sure that employees are impeccably trained to handle digitalised data, and safeguards must be deployed to minimise the risk of cyber-security breaches occurring.

Does ChartCo have any other services or products currently under development, and what advantages can these bring to the maritime industry?

We’re currently focusing on our forthcoming digital logbooks offering, LogCentral. This is the latest integrated solution to join the OneOcean platform and offers an effective, paperless system for record-keeping, monitoring, reporting and compliance verification. I can confidently say that all clients who’ve seen the development work are impressed and many are actively working with us on the current sea trials.

We also have interesting developments around a more cost-effective pay as you sail (PAYS) solution, to meet the growing needs of customers who want flexibility and the ability to access ENCs with convenience and ease. Customers who find PAYS suits their methods of operation also recognise that this does carry an additional cost burden, which can be minimised through the ChartCo OneOcean PAYS solution.