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  • "ShipServ is a vital tool for us as a leading European ship chandler and we need to be highly visible in the ports we serve as it is used by all the leading shipping companies."

    George Saris, President
    Atlas Ship Chandlers

  • "We started to use TradeNet just to save time and stop manual typing of orders, but now we get other substantial benefits including vital benchmark data on suppliers’ response times that help us in all our negotiations."

    Knut Ove Thuland Hansen, Purchasing Manager

  • "Time is the biggest saving through ShipServ. We have detailed data that tells us that the amount of time we spend per vessel each week has dropped from 9.2 hours to 7.9 hours."

    Richard O'Malley, Purchasing Supervisor
    Crowley Maritime

  • "Encouraging our suppliers to adopt the e-commerce platform has been well worth the effort. We have reaped significant cost savings from streamlining our purchasing processes."

    Charles Ong, Purchasing Manager
    Keppel Shipyard

  • "Since joining ShipServ in 2012, we have gained 7 new clients in 18 months. It has helped our company be seen in the international shipping market as both ShipServ Pages and TradeNet are used by many different shipping companies and it also speeds up the process between buyer and supplier."

    Valeria Assandri,Machinery & Replacement Parts S.r.l

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31 May 2012

ShipServ in the Press – Shipping can no longer ignore social media

Shipowners have little choice but to move into social media but trust reigns supreme – Savahna Nightingale in the May 2012 edition of Fairplay.

The article focuses on two major trends is the maritime industry: social media and trust. While it is clear that social media is catching up with the shipping industry it is no longer a question of  “if” but of  “when” and more importantly “how”. Savahna Nightingale talks to industry leaders to find out.

With more people jumping aboard the social media bandwagon (see ‘Not immune from social media’, Fairplay, 29 March), updating, liking, pinging, tagging, broadcasting and tweeting their lives away, the impact on the shipping industry is clear.

Social networks will be the way in the future by which people increasingly combine their business and personal lives, Mark Stokes, group communications director at Lloyd’s Register, told the Pynda Forum at the International Maritime Organization.

Love it or hate it, social media can’t be ignored. That’s been reinforced over the past year by some seafarers’ embarrassin­g postings – includin­g images – on Facebook and Twitter of inappropriate moments on board. In many cases, shipping companies’ branding was obvious in the images, sending a chill through owners who had been ignorant of such goings-on, which included consumption of alcohol.

Crisis concerns

The potential consequences of such activity in the event of a crisis or a safety matter are daunting for owners. “Social media and social responsibility are real. Giving staff the right training so they can appropriately represent your business is important,” Stokes insisted.

Several organisations have put social media to good use. Research by Rubicon Resolution, a risk consultancy, shows that pirates like to tweet, so the shipping industry is beginning to use the medium to help combat piracy: the IMO is documenting pirate attacks and tweeting about them.

Nor-Shipping has incorporated a fully fledged social media platform that boasts a dedicated YouTube channel, LinkedIn discussion groups and inter­connecting websites. It aspires to be an industry ‘finger on the pulse’ for innovation.

A question of trust

Although e-commerce has been around for considerably longer than social media, Paul Ostergaard, CEO of ShipServ, an online marine supplies and e-commerce business, told the IMO conference that while online operations could bring positive benefits to shipping, trust is still the major issue.

“Trust guides much of our behaviour while we are online. In fact, trust governs many day-to-day activities, whether business or personal, online or offline. Undoubtedly it has been the hardest part to get right, particularly in the shipping industry,” said Ostergaard.

ShipServ implemented its own trust mechanisms with review and verification pages, enabling buyers to gauge each supplier by its activity and offering recommendation­s from peers. Stokes summed it up as: “Without trust, you have no reputation; with no reputation you have no business.”

He said social media had blurred the lines between business and personal life but more people will accept this over time as a one-way tool to communicate with friends and clients simultaneously.

Ostergaard sees the next step in online expansion being towards an economic model of sharing, swapping or renting access to products as opposed to owning.

“I truly believe that in the next few years, technology will turn some elements of trading back to its prehistoric roots through this new phenomenon of collaborative consumption,” he said