Should Liners Invest in Shipping Software Solutions?

Greater efficiency is the top priority of most shipping companies nowadays. With skyrocketing fuel prices and growing market competition, vessel operators are looking for better ways to cut operational expenses while keeping their revenues up. To make this possible, the shipping industry is constantly moving toward greater technological integration to automate various aspects of a shipping process. For this reason, marine software companies have developed various types of shipping software solutions for port and on-ship activities.

Every year, millions of tons of cargoes are being moved by shipping lines on various vessels including RoRo, container, and multipurpose vessels. Moving these goods involves many parties and complex processes. To accommodate the increasing complexities involved in port and vessel operations, hipping software companies have developed maritime software solutions which have greatly increased efficiencies.

For instance, modern merchant vessels use container tracking software to track actual locations of containers and provide their clients real-time view of the actual progress of a container transport process. Automated updates of container and cargo events can be sent to the relevant parties to provide full visibility to them.

Aside from container tracking software, modern shipping lines are also equipped with software applications that help them maximize revenue from each voyage or port call. Voyage calculation software also known as voyage accounting software allows vessel operators to forecast expenses, and revenue they can generate from each shipment and port call. Using this software, operators can make quick calculations of direct cargo related expenses and indirect expenses like fuel expenses, harbor dues, canal fees, and other costs involved in the process. This enables them to manage their cargo mix and simulate the impact contributions of different cargo mixes, port rotations and vessel speeds. Operators can also make simultaneous calculations of costs using different ships and routes and choose transactions they deem to provide the best commercial value.

Cargo safety is always a top priority when transporting containers. To ensure that this is achieved in every trip, operators need to ensure that their container fleet is properly maintained and repaired. With integrated container repair software carriers have full visibility of container damages. Container repair software allows them to quickly authorize and validate repairs, check warranties, identify improper repairs and locations where the equipment is not properly handled. This will ensure that ‘black sheeps’ amongst repair shops.

Integrated shipping software allows shipping companies to increase the efficiency of their operations both on the shore and off. They are available in platforms which can be integrated into a vessel’s existing system without doing any expensive reprogramming. While some marine software solutions can be expensive, operators can easily make back the difference in cost of their investment. However, operators must choose shipping software companies which provide quality shipping software products and after-sales service so that they can benefit most from their investment.

Introduction of Shipping Software and SaaS

Introduction

Shipping software solutions automate the process for manufacturers or fulfillment organizations from packaging, shipment processing, tracking and tracing to invoice editing. The system delivers shipping and logistics processing, export compliance, and customer service functionality in one integrated application, all from the convenience of a desktop PC. Shipping software solutions on web portals, can be accessed any time from any location by the customers to track their orders. The solutions also provide secured layers of technologies for web host servers to communicate over the Internet.

In today’s economic climate where organizations watch every penny, staying up-to-date on the latest requirements and regulations and freedom of choosing carriers, is the need of time. Using the shipping solution, allows real-time access to major carriers such as FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. It also provides rate-shopping, freight pickups, appropriate labels and documentation generation, and also real-time status of shipments that helps to track shipments not delivered on time.

The shipping software solutions provided can collect and store activity information and make data available through reports as per the customers’ requirement. Due to these solutions organizations realize and achieve value from their technology investments and manage the forever changing challenges in a volatile market.

Integration and Monetary Gains

Organizations can maximize savings by integrating the solutions into their business practices, where all cost-analysis and rate-shopping is done automatically, leaving more time and money at their disposal. Integration can be done with systems such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Sage ERP X3, PeopleSoft, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP R/3, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, JD Edwards World, and others. Time is saved due to the automated order processing with minimal data entry and eliminates re-keying of data during the delivery of the product/order to the customer (fulfillment process).

Cost-effective Software as a Service (SaaS)

The entire software industry is moving towards service-based products (SaaS) rather than one-time purchases and major investment in technology. One of the biggest advantage to an organization is the ability to reduce IT support costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider. Market trends point towards improving business-to-business connectivity that helps organizations in streamlining communications with their customers. Many shipping system vendors have started to offer the option to deploy applications at their customer (manufacturers or fulfillment organizations) site or host the software system through the vendor’s own server.

New Solutions Meet Target

It is critical an organization understands where improvements can be made throughout their process and get the right tools to effect these changes. Organizations who understand the importance of investing in technology and more efficient processes have their eye on the required goal – a return on investments by meeting all the customer requirements.

Why Shipping Software Is Crucial in Modern Maritime Industry

Liner vessels carry more than 60 percent of cargoes transported by sea each year. Transporting these cargoes involves a network of ships, trucks, and trains moving through several transfer points known as intermodal connectors. Any problem or disruption anywhere in the network can result in shipment delays and increased costs – issues that hurt many shipping companies even until now. Eliminating such problems is the reason why more and more liner ship operators invest in liner shipping software.

Liner vessels such as Roll-on / Roll-off (RoRo), container ships, and break bulk vessels are capable of moving thousands of truckloads of cargo on a single voyage at full capacity. However, managing cargo transport operations can be complicated and may require hundreds of workers to manually perform routines from packing, to warehousing, inventory, loading, transshipping, and discharging of consignments. Integrated shipping software automates time-consuming and labor-intensive processes involved in tracking and managing cargo transport process resulting in increased efficiency, profitability, and reduced overhead.

Marine software solutions can be purchased off-the-shelf and at affordable price from many software houses in the market. These are easy to install, can be customized to fit different business requirements, and can be easily integrated into existing business platforms. Additionally, modern shipping line software have built-in “switching” feature which ensures that operators and their customer are not forced to use on-size-fits-all system.

One example of maritime software application which can be found is container tracking software. Operators use this software application to provide their clients visibility on the actual progress of the cargo transport process, giving them peace of mind knowing that their shipments are in good hands and are delivered on time. It captures real-time reports on container movements including departure, transshipment, and discharging.

To maximize profitability, shipping companies use voyage calculation software to forecast operational costs and income they will generate from each voyage or port call. Also known as voyage accounting software, this application enables operators to calculate all possible expenses including port costs, cargo costs including voyage and bunker costs. Operators can use this information to identify desirable and undesirable freights, manage their cargo mix, increase or decrease volume when necessary, and choose the most cost-effective deployment and rotation of a vessel to ensure profitability. Additionally, operators can use this application to run multiple calculations simultaneously and compare rates in order to determine options with best commercial value.

Shipping software companies continue to develop solutions in order to provide operators with tools they need to automate critical processes and develop strategies to effectively streamline and simplify their operations, reduce overhead, and improve their services. Operators must evaluate their business carefully and decide on the right type of shipping software solution to use.