Monthly Archives: November 2017

Maintain Cost-Efficient Bunker Consumption Through Shipping Software

Carrier operators are recently shaken up by significant developments involving one of the world’s largest oil suppliers. The shock comes after Denmark-based oil supplier OW Bunker has filed for bankruptcy this year, citing up to $750 million in debt due to alleged fraud. Analysts say this will spark a domino effect as carrier managers are hard-pressed to find alternative suppliers and make up for exposed amounts. Increases in the market price of fuel are also feared. This spells only tough times ahead for many carrier operators, especially those without shipping management software.

It is essential in the maritime services sector to adopt cost-efficient ways to stay afloat in such a volatile industry. It is volatile in the sense that it experiences numerous events that challenge profitability, such as OW Bunker’s filing for bankruptcy. Such scenario has prompted an increase in the demand for effective marine software solutions.

However, companies that already have integrated shipping management software are well-prepared to meet such challenges and shipping software companies have already churned out a variety of cost-saving solutions that profess better management of bunker consumption regardless of various scenarios.
Prior to the development of integrated shipping software, carriers relied on structural modifications to render their vessels more fuel efficient. For instance, modified fins can be considered for better speed regulation. The downside to this is that modification costs a fortune and takes a long time to install. Modern shipping on the other hand relies on digitizing speed calculation and management through intelligent voyage calculation. The system automatically estimates and determines ideal vessel speeds. It makes complex calculations that can accurately identify fuel-efficient speeds without compromising on-time deliveries, in a sense leading to bunker savings.

Other factors such as weather conditions and technical failures also pose risks to effective fuel consumption. Operators are powerless with regards to these, which is why they need a shipping software system that mitigates the effects of such scenarios. An intelligent voyage calculation system can make precise estimates as to current position and voyage duration. It then recommends a wide-range of actions that the crew can undertake to keep fuel intake within ideal limits while minimizing, if not eliminating, delivery delays.

Marine software solutions also allow for effective fuel management. There are software options that feature accurate fuel usage estimates using sophisticated operations. The software determines the actual consumption needs of the vessel, singling out the “cappuccino effect” which usually happens when filling up the vessel’s engine. With sophisticated bunker management software, monitoring bunker activities can work like a breeze. Carriers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they are consuming bunker volumes actually needed for particular voyages. Imagine the savings it entails!

Commercial shipping management has come a long way. From making manual estimates on bunker consumption, carrier operators now use marine software solutions to face a variety of challenges to their revenue generation. Despite difficult times ahead for the bunker fuel market, carrier operators can continue making money through automated fuel management processes.

Signs That Your Company Needs One

For companies that don’t have in house logistics experts, the question of how to handle the logistics of the shipping process often leads to contracting with a third party logistics (3PL) provider, a solution that rarely leads to a broad range of shipping solutions yet still costs more than implementing logistics software-also known as freight management software-which functions as a logistics expert and allows companies to choose from among recommended shipping options using a user friendly interface. While logistics solutions besides freight management software aren’t inherently bad, they’re usually more expensive and less thorough. Below, we take a look at some signs that indicate that your company could benefit from switching to a logistics software solution.

Feeling Disconnected From a 3PL Provider

The biggest complaint of 3PL customers about doing business with 3PLs is that the line of communication between provider and customer seems anything but fluid. While not having a talking business relationship with your 3PL provider isn’t necessarily a sign that your shipping process could be better, it is a symptom of how 3PLs do business: remaining at their position atop the logistics function by withholding logistical information. If you’d really like to know what your 3PL provider isn’t saying about your true range of shipping options, a logistics software solution will provide the answer.

Contracts With More Than One 3PL Provider

If you have a limited budget or are trying to save money on shipping logistics, you may have two or more contracts with standard 3PL providers and/or service developers, which means that you don’t have an integrated approach to your shipping process. Although specialized service oriented 3PLs can match your needs with carriers, they don’t integrate carriers for improved delivery time and decreased shipping cost. With freight management software, you have the opportunity to integrate all shipping methods (road, rail, air and sea) to improve delivery time and reduce cost of delivery.

Broken Freight on Arrival

While its rare to never experience broken freight, some companies experience it more than they should because they ship with a carrier that isn’t designed to handle it. Part of freight optimization is ensuring that freight is properly stacked right and shipped with other types of freight (especially in LTL shipping) that won’t cause damage. If you experience broken freight on a regular basis, chances are that there’s a problem with your shipping process that can easily be optimized with freight management software.

Feeling No Control Over Your Shipping Process

Because the cost of shipping is one the biggest expenses that shipping companies incur, every shipper should have as much control over its shipping process as possible. When shippers contract with 3PL providers, they relinquish control of the shipping process, putting themselves in the position to be overcharged and uninformed. Freight management software allows companies to become their own logistics providers, regaining control of their shipping process and saving money at the same time.