Smart Ship© Hub: Providing a Digital Platform for Ship Management Services

Joy Basu | Founder & CEO | Smart Ship Hub
Joy Basu | Founder & CEO | Smart Ship Hub

Aimed at Merchant ships, Naval ships, Offshore oil rigs, Cruises, Yachts and soon to be used in Fishing vessels: Smart Ship Hub—the digital platform is aimed at Fleet Owners, Operators, Charter Party (companies who lease these ships), Ports, Insurers, Ship Supplies companies, Brokers & Agents. Smart Ship Hub digital platform is a gateway for the maritime industry: it is a layer that services each entity for their specific interests and purposes.

Smart Ship© Hub continues to shape up the new-age maritime ecosystem through its multi-tenant digital platform. Smart Ship enables actionable intelligence through live situational awareness & predictive diagnostics. The platform enables a complete range of remote technical & operational management through live machinery data, video feeds, images together with historical & process data. Read along to learn more about this platform in the interview mentioned below.

Mentioned below are the highlights of the interview:

Please brief our audience about your organization, its values, vision, and mission.

Smart Ship© Hub (SSH) is ready to deploy a cloud-based platform helping manage vessel & fleet remotely while keeping control on Fuel consumption, Spares/ Maintenance, Monthly PMS, adherence to Charter Party agreement, and host of multiple other features (all managed, monitored, and controlled remotely). SSH digital platform is used by vessel owners, operators, charter party, insurers to enable on-demand actionable intelligence in areas of Vessel and Voyage optimization.

Through its flexible & On-demand cloud services, the digital platform brings substantial cost savings & operational efficiencies for organizations who are using ERP/ Legacy systems or just any 3rd party software system.

Smart Ship Hub’s genesis lies in the vast opportunity global maritime logistics offers. Maritime logistics domain is a blue economy with $ 20+ Trillion worth of global trade, fragmented market, with 90% + global logistics through maritime routes: this domain has seen the least innovation & technology leverage as compared to Airline logistics, Road logistics, Oil and gas and many other industry domains.

The pillars of Smart Ship Hub’s services include remote tracking, monitoring, and providing actionable insights to our customers so their vessels operate as safely and efficiently as possible.

Brief us on how you have made an impact in the maritime industry through your expertise in the market?

Smart Ship Hub does for Ships and any floating object in the ocean what “avionics does for aircraft’s”. The digital platform once installed in ships tracks, monitors, controls and predicts multiple operational parameters.

These include managing ETA, Port communication, Energy management in the vessel & fleet, Business intelligence for ship management processes, Analytics and trends for vessel consumption areas, Reliability & predictability of machinery performance and central repository of live data servicing each entity (Fleet owners, Operators, Insurers, Ports, Charter Party, etc.).

Supported by Sensor technology, IIOT, Big data & ML algorithms, the Smart Ship Hub platform focuses on: Performance Optimization, Cost Savings, Safety & Compliance, Agility through situational awareness accuracy in prediction.

The impact is what we have observed and read from our clients:

  • Upto 5 % cost savings in fuel utilization (fuel is about 50% of the daily expense for the ships)
  • Upto 15% savings on operational costs (through accurate condition & health monitoring)
  • Upto 35% cost savings inshore operations (global offices) by automated processes, complete remote video-based management & enabling management of twice the number of ships per superintendent.
  • Increased asset reliability (ship’s machinery, hull, propeller, cranes, etc.) by 30%
  • Enabling ship owners to charge higher tariffs from Charter Party (leasing companies) by showcasing remote management capability (higher reliability, safety, and traceability of cargo)
  • Remote management of machines, people, navigation, port coordination has enhanced turnaround time, simplified existing processes while making it agile and on-demand.
  • Going forward Smart Ship Hub is going to leverage data from its fleet for bringing in “Shared services amongst vessels under its digital management”. Sharing of route information and weather, sharing of capacity, sharing of maintenance practices.

Brief us about the featured person(s) and their journey in the maritime industry.

Joy Basu has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science (Univ. of Pune), MBA in Systems from IMDR Pune. Worked as a systems engineer in automobile manufacturing & IT services (Kinetic Honda, Aptech) before starting on my own in 2001 with InfoTek Software (now a Tech Mahindra company). Post InfoTek exit, co-promoted Amplify Mindware which is into Technology Migration and education. The education vertical grew rapidly and was taken over by Bharati Vidyapeeth University.

Smart Ship Hub’s genesis lies in the vast opportunity global maritime logistics offers. Maritime logistics domain is a blue economy with $ 20+ Trillion worth of global trade, fragmented market, with 90% + global logistics through maritime routes: this domain has seen the least innovation & technology leverage as compared to Airline logistics, Road logistics, Oil & gas & many other industry domains.

It is amazing to see a seed of an idea by the promoter becoming the shared goal of the entire team and technology roadmap for the customer & finally validation by investors. Being an entrepreneur: I could create solutions at a global scale, work for multiple fortune 500 companies, scale operations from incubating an idea to implementing it globally for very large organizations. My biggest driver has been to create lasting value for customers, wealth & opportunities for my team members and the recognition/ validation I continue to get from various globally leading organizations. I couldn’t see that happening as an employee.

What are the challenges you and your team come across in your day-to-day operations?

Challenges are what we have signed up for at Smart Ship© Hub. Challenges that keep us on toes and find innovative ways of working. For some of the core members in the team, this is the 2nd venture they are part of, and seeing it grow from its infancy. This is one of the reasons how we scale up very fast from the incubation period. Smart Ship Hub is one of the fastest-growing companies in maritime digital tech.

Within 1 year of our incorporation, we signed the world’s 2nd largest (in terms of ship fleet size) as our customer and strategically partnered with a globally placed ship classification society for a joint foray apart from being part of prestigious global cohorts managed by Cisco, Supply chain labs, Rainmaking accelerator.

Maritime logistics and maritime tech do have some challenging moments, some we have overcome and the rest we are working along with:

  • Vessels (our assets) are constantly in motion, allowing us little opportunity to go onboard for anything. During this pandemic, with reduced human contact operations took a hit temporarily. This became one of the largest opportunity moments for Smart Ship Hub when it started doing most of the ship-based activities remotely. Remote video-based machinery maintenance, Remote video-based inspection & audit, Remote health care of the crew, Machinery condition monitoring, and a plethora of other remote services.
  • Time Zone: Our operation centre is based in India and headquarters in Singapore, and with clientele across the globe we often experience few challenges. It can at times be tough on the team to keep up with 24/7 support while working from home.
  • Innovation in global maritime is a new phenomenon that carries a huge legacy of the past. The industry currently is similar to the airlines’ industry of the late 1990s. While they are not immune to innovation anymore, the learning & technology adoption curve has been a “hockey stick “pattern.
  • Skilled manpower for maritime tech is still a challenge given that the industry in India hasn’t matured yet. Hence Smart Ship Hub has to work with a global team, working on different time zones, speaking a different language, but finally united by a common purpose of “digitalization of the maritime ecosystem”.

Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organization to sustain operations and ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?

During this pandemic, the team has found ways to work and interact with clients, vendors, and partners. We have to think out of the box all the time to deliver, which is of utmost importance for a start-up at this stage.

The team working here has always supported and even during the pandemic we have managed our operation efficiently by taking it digitally and working remotely. Smart Ship© Hub as the company offers remote monitoring products to its client, and after a couple of brainstorming sessions we came up with the idea to use it internally and we are working remotely and are delivering efficiently in all operation areas. During this pandemic, we have successfully delivered all our clients with our services and have ensured that operations are not halted at any stage. To ensure safety at work we have always avoided unwanted gatherings at the office, maintaining social distance, and with the support of local authorities, we have also organized a vaccination drive for our team.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the maritime sector?

While there are many suggestions to share, let me limit my inputs few of the key ones:

  • Be prepared for lots of rejections: since the industry is still getting used to technology that is not ERP or PMS (planned maintenance system)
  • Focus on building a very strong team. Maritime professionals & decision-makers like to work with professionals from their fraternity. You are safe having dynamic Master Mariners, Chief Engineers, Naval Architects in your team.
  • India is not your market for the next 3 to 5 years unless you are building solutions for freight/container tracking. Focus on Singapore, West Europe, UK, Greece, Dubai, China.
  • Must aim at being part of some accelerators. Some of the prominent ones will guarantee global attention & if successful, you will get paid pilots with some of the globally leading maritime companies.

Where do you envision your organization to be in the long run and what are your future goals?

Smart Ship Hub is focused on “On-demand services” over the cloud, helping its customer reduce technology costs and inefficiencies linked to On-prem solutions. Data plays a major role in this process and the industry is moving towards a shared economy.

We would like to be at the forefront of maritime innovation while maintaining relevance, profitability & multiple growth opportunities. We will not venture into any areas that will not have immediate customer adoption or will not address current challenges in the existing legacy systems.

Having said that, Smart Ship Hub will be focussing on:

  • Creating a “sell-through model” with global partnerships. It has already signed up 3 companies, each of whom is the world’s leading in their service & product portfolio.
  • Smart Ship Hub’s platform will be the “Single source of truth” for the maritime ecosystem of Shipowners, Ship Operators, Charter Parties (those who lease these ships), Insurers (those who insure the ship’s hull, machinery, cargo), Port Authorities, etc.
  • The digital layer of Smart Ship Hub will eventually be a gateway for several entities to seek their data, eliminating the need to install expensive software applications at their end. Tera & petabytes of data will be a rich source of global maritime intelligence, trends, projections for industrial reference.

Give us a few testimonials of your clients that accurately highlight your organization’s position in the market.

  • Smart Ship Hub has been lucky to have its platform & digital support services being used by some of the biggest names including:
    • Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. (India): India’s largest shipowners.
    • Fleet Management: world’s 2nd largest ship operator and a recent addition.
    • Nova: very prominent ship owners from Singapore.
    • Eastaway (Erstwhile X-Press Feeders): one of the world’s prominent containers (feeder services) with a global footprint.
  • Seven Island Shipping: The rich client moved their ERP-based legacy processes to Mobile based tracking, monitoring through on-demand cloud access. The entire fleet of 49 vessels managed through mobile platform brought in up to 15% operational efficiencies.
  • Indian Navy conducted a successful proof of concept at one of its dockyards.

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