The founder of intelligent booking platform ShipNEXT has unveiled plans for the portal’s next stages of development.
In an interview with Breakbulk, Alexander Varvarenko said the next expansion period for the online tool will include shipment/cargo teaching, post-fixing services, an operational and ship-planning module for shipowners/operators and smart contracting and blockchain solutions.
The platform will also move into shipping sectors other than the dry bulk and general cargo (including heavy and project cargo) industries, and will enable users to use real-time charter rates to assess supply and demand and improve profitability by using rates projections.
In its final development phase, ShipNEXT, according to Varvarenko, will offer users access to the complete shipping database and analysis containing ships, cargo, ports, distances, restrictions, rules and more.
The company has made an agreement with Dragon Capital, Ukraine’s biggest investment bank, about selling a minority stake, Varvarenko said.
ShipNEXT has been designed to be a one-stop online platform for fixing all types of cargo – including heavy and project cargo – tendering and negotiations, contract management, reporting, post-fixing and operations and ratings of its users.
The tool’s software “reads” an emailed cargo request or ship position and automatically matches cargoes with ships using more than 70 databases and algorithms.
Any small change in the platform’s incoming data, such as a change in cargo or ship position anywhere in the world, automatically prompts the system to make new calculations to find the most appropriate cargo for the most suitable ship.
A subscription-based model is offered after a free trial period for users of the online tool, which has also seen the introduction of a live chat function.
Managing Information Flow
According to Varvarenko, the idea for ShipNEXT came about when the flow of information and emails every day at his shipping company Varamar, of which he is managing director, became too great to effectively deal with.
“We saw a gap in the market for a product that would offer an intelligent digital solution to simplify channels of communication in the process of booking a ship for a cargo, as well as provide a one-stop global online platform for shipping market players,” he told Breakbulk.
“We have used technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing, among others, to develop an algorithm that can process all the incoming information in seconds and give several options to a cargo owner (or ship operator) based on his or her requirements.”
The first stage of ShipNEXT was launched on Oct. 2 for dry bulk and general cargo, including heavy and project cargo.
Varvarenko said that the platform “will also help banks by facilitating increased transparency in ship finance by providing lenders with real-time charter rates, statistics and analysis.”
Discussing how the tool can improve transparency, the platform’s founder said: “With ShipNEXT, a cargo owner can, for example, launch his own auction to get the most competitive rate from the market, and choose the most optimal solution with best possible monetary and time costs.
“He can also check his potential counterparty’s rating based on users’ feedback.”
Photo: The ShipNEXT website.