We are proud to announce that Sea/, an end-to-end digital shipping platform, recently chose to partner with Windward to improve pre-fixture negotiations. We sat down with Alex Gray, Head of Commercial Partnerships at Sea/, to learn more about this exciting partnership and understand how Windward’s AI platform is working to empower their clients.
What is Sea/’s mission and how does Windward fit into that?
Sea/ by Maritech’s core aim is to realize workflow efficiencies within the chartering process by minimizing the burden of data processing and collection. In other words, we enable and enhance the information that you enter at the start of a transaction and allow it to flow seamlessly through the documentation to a voyage management platform. We feel that all parties within the transaction play a vital role and everyone has their place in this journey; whether that’s the charterer, the owner or the broker.
Where does Windward fit into this? Sea/ allows users to capture throughout the process every step the charterer has taken so that at the end of the transaction, they can look back and demonstrate internally or externally the steps they took to make the appropriate chartering decision. Thanks to Windward, users will also now have the ability to quickly assess Sanction Risk within the platform, allowing users to realize efficiencies and charter with confidence like never before. Windward will also enhance Sea/’s existing auditability functionality to allow users to quickly demonstrate to internal and external auditors that they have complied with all relevant sanction requirements.
What makes Windward stand out from other providers?
When we assessed the emerging regulatory direction, it became clear that traditional ways of spotting sanctionable activity wasn’t going to be enough for our Sea/ customers. We have a series of customers from both wet and dry markets, all of whom have a need for sanction information. And it’s not an area where we have the necessary expertise. As such, we decided to partner with a leading provider in this area.
We looked at a variety of integrations to add value to our customers. The key requirement was to allow our customers to access sanction information as early as possible in the fixture process. Traditionally, organizations negotiate ships, end up with a target vessel, and only when they have concluded the main negotiation terms do they then think about screening for sanctions. So significant time can be spent only to realize that the vessel is not suitable. That’s why we wanted to front-run sanctions in the process to save users time. Up until now, this wasn’t possible unless you had chartering teams checking separate products and multiple ships before the selection process, which was not a good use of their time.
Why is saving time critical for chartering teams?
An early warning that a vessel isn’t going to be suitable allows chartering teams to avoid wasting time on pursuing an unsuitable vessel. That’s the rationale behind our integrations so far, and Windward fits into that pocket perfectly for us. All corporations’ main priority is to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations, not just from a letter of the law perspective but also in the spirit of the law.
Windward makes this process so much easier. The key here is that we can deliver a solution to our customers by helping them avoid pursuing ships that won’t work for them. Users can easily view risk scores within Sea/trade to quickly understand the most suitable options. This is in contrast to the current process of looking at a broad selection of ships, narrowing it down to one target vessel, and doing a retroactive screening.
The screening process of an ultimate performing vessel would normally involve handing the fixture over to a legal or compliance department to check if the vessel is suitable. It could take hours to come back, only to find a safety or compliance issue. The market is moving all the time; freight is the most volatile commodity market, so to stand still waiting for a green light, only to go back to the drawing board, is extremely frustrating.
Within the dry market, there are no golden solutions out there, only a variety of different services and it is a bit ad hoc. Bringing sanctions screening forward in the fixture process is critical. And Windward delivers it in a straightforward and consumable way.
How does this make a difference to charterers?
Charterers want to ensure they don’t waste time pursuing unsuitable options, and this integration with Windward will allow them to charter with more confidence than ever before. It will also help minimize the risk of wasted time in pursuing unsuitable vessels. This demonstrates Sea/’s commitment to optimize the customer journey at all stages of the process through actively seeking and eliminating inefficiency.