Inchcape is a maritime services provider that began in 1847 under a different name, Mackinnon Mackenzie & Company, after its two merchant founders partnered together with a mission to change the face of the shipping industry. Today, the company employs more than 3,000 people and has 240 offices in 68 different countries. While the majority of Inchcape’s services revolve around port agency and ensuring that crew changes and general port operations are carried out smoothly, it has also begun providing marine survey services.
In 2019, Inchcape set out to improve transparency at every level of the company, especially in the areas of integrated compliance, operational visibility, and costs. This move toward transparency offers many benefits to both longtime and new clients, including improved operational efficiency, peace of mind, a collaborative mindset, increased sustainability, cost and time savings, and information on demand.
“Inchcape has developed a culture of very strict corporate governance, with an embedded, company-wide compliance program that has been assessed and recognized by third parties as ‘industry leading,’” says ISS CEO Frank Olsen. “So when you deal with Inchcape, no matter where that [may] be, you can expect the same degree of integrity and reliably high standards.”
Part of that initiative was the launch of World of Ports 2.0, the original version of which has been in operation for more than 14 years. World of Ports is a platform developed by Inchcape that uses the company’s extensive global network to deliver reliable port, terminal, and berth data to shipping companies and oil majors to ensure transparency and seamless operations throughout the marine assurance process. More specifically, World of Ports uses its innovative maritime intelligence application to provide information about port performance, maritime conditions, and cost optimization opportunities to shipping agents and owners, charterers, operators, and brokers around the world.
The redevelopment of the platform took place over 18 months and now utilizes updated geofencing at berth level, which includes advancements such as time stamps on arrivals and departures of vessels, vessel size and type tracking, cargo load estimates, and custom alerts. Inchcape’s World of Ports provides this data using a proprietary algorithm and geocoding of all berths and ports. The company already has plans for future releases that will boost the transparency of its operations even further.
“World of Ports has supported oil and gas and shipping companies globally for more than a decade, and we’re proud of the positive impact the solution has made within the marine assurance and operations communities so far,” said Olsen. “With additional features and improved user interface, World of Ports 2.0 will be an indispensable tool for those involved in vessel operations, scheduling, and marine assurance.”
Of course, Inchcape and Olsen did not expect to release the new version of World of Ports during a global pandemic. The maritime shipping industry, like most industries, has been significantly affected by the unexpected events of 2020, but Inchcape didn’t let that stop it from continuing its work to improve the industry and bring additional transparency to the process.
“Our teams are working around the clock to offer support whenever and wherever possible in order to ensure the welfare of crews,” wrote Olsen in a message to customers regarding the industry challenges caused by COVID-19. “Information is key, and we are doing everything we can to keep customers informed as the situation continues to evolve… Country by country, port by port, we are providing vital help and assistance with the power of our global network behind us.”