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Time is Shipping’s Biggest Commodity

The maritime industry, a cornerstone of global trade, relies heavily on efficient communication and information management. However, within this industry where time is arguably the most precious commodity, traditional email systems often cause significant bottlenecks and inefficiencies. In this blog post, we'll delve into the key findings of this report and explore how modernising email systems can drive unprecedented improvements in productivity and profitability within the shipping sector.

The Email Overload Challenge

In the maritime industry, email serves as more than just a means of communication. It functions as a project management tool, a source of market insights, an audit trail, and the universally accepted system of record. However, the sheer volume of emails received daily - often numbering in the thousands - poses a significant challenge. Managing this deluge of messages is an uphill battle as traditional email systems rely on outdated folder structures, manual categorisation and inconsistent styling.

One major issue stems from the lack of distinction between communication and action within traditional email systems. A single email can quickly escalate in volume due to the "cc" effect, leading to numerous replies and additional emails to manage. Astonishingly, the average person spends between 2 to 4 hours each day sorting and filing messages, hindering their ability to perform their job efficiently and collaborate effectively.

Many organisations resort to workarounds to cope with this email overload, such as archiving emails or hiring personnel solely to manage email traffic.

The Cost of Inefficiency

The financial impact of these inefficiencies is staggering. The cost of administering the paperwork in the shipping industry often equals the cost of physically moving goods around the world.

The global trading ecosystem, valued at $4 trillion annually, could benefit immensely from streamlined processes. According to Bernard Hoekman, former Director of the World Bank's International Trade Department, reducing supply chain barriers would lower costs for businesses, create jobs, and boost economic opportunities.

Embracing Technology for Efficiency

The future of the maritime industry is already being shaped by technology. Cloud-based online platforms are providing transparency to sea operations, while independent online-freight platforms promise increased efficiency and transparency in the freight market.

Blockchain technology is also making inroads into the industry, offering solutions like digitised supply chains and paperless trade. However, full-scale adoption depends on the cooperation of key stakeholders, including carriers, forwarders, and government customs bodies.

Readers who read this also read: Navigating digital transformation in maritime: Unlocking efficiency and innovation

Email as the Catalyst for Digital Transformation

Interestingly, digital transformation within organisations often begins with email. Many companies are finding success by addressing email overload as their first step towards a more streamlined workflow.

For example, Glencore Agriculture transitioned from Lotus Notes to Sedna, a modern email system, to enhance communication and collaboration. The results were remarkable, with operators seeing only the messages requiring action, reducing manual filing, and saving substantial time.

The Impact of Modern Email Systems

The benefits of adopting modern email systems are evident across the maritime industry. Glencore increased vessel management by 100%, Ardmore saved team members 10 hours per week on admin tasks, and BBC Chartering reduced IT spend by $100,000 annually.

A New Era in Maritime Efficiency

In conclusion, the maritime industry is on the brink of a digital revolution and the transformation begins with modernising email systems. By leveraging the power of email to extract valuable data from inboxes, companies can enhance efficiency, maximise profitability, and optimise their bottom line. The maritime sector, once bound by outdated communication methods, is now poised to unlock its full potential, ushering in an era of unprecedented productivity and profitability.

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