Digitalization expands in legacy operating segments such as bunkers, ship supplies, crew management, and DA (Disbursement Accounts). Enterprise B2B SaaS applications gradually replace repetitive labor and paper-intensive processes. Focusing on the DA and the ship manager/port agent interactions, we can recognize two main processes.
A gradual openness to outsourcing and streamlining of non-core business processes. These trends are observed by the increasing dependency of the global shipping lines on 3rd partners (such as Maersk-Inchcape as a port agent) and the growing adoption of platforms like DA-Desk over the last decades. Those trends are supported by external factors such as management transition to work on digital platforms instead of paper-based materials and the challenge to hire young talents for repetitive administrative work. As for the young talents, the new workforce who enters the sector is digital native by definition, hence adopting digital work processes easily.
A current trend of platform adoption growing in the last couple of years. Inchcape’s case of paying $20M to settle claims of overbilled ports and ship-to-shore services, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the labor shortage crisis, emphasized the lack of transparency of port duties and the need for remote support without physical presence.
To conclude, the unmet need for better solutions received attention from entrepreneurs with industry backgrounds. As a result, we experienced at theDOCK multiple opportunities that knocked on our door, spanning from crew recruiting solutions, DA’s accounts management, and ship supplies platforms.