solve marine crew management issues with Vessul


In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, global lockdown restrictions have been put in place, causing large-scale disruption within the shipping industry. Disruptions in the supply chain and the lack of availability of shipping containers are just a few of the issues facing the industry.

The current situation has made it imperative for the maritime industry to function properly, in particular when it comes to organizing the movements of their workers.

Vessul was created to help the industry manage the movement of essential workers in the marine and energy industries. The platform will allow companies to quickly book trips for multiple workers across the globe, ensuring they arrive at their next destination at the same time.

Thomas Young explains how Vessul works and the main challenges he believes maritime workers will face this year.

Frankie Youd (FY): Can you tell me a bit about Vessul and how it works?

Thomas Young (TY): Vessul is essentially a crew rotation platform. Shipping companies, other types of shipping lines and energy companies can use the platform to manage and book crew business trips that need to be renewed.

For example, let’s say a ship goes from Beijing to UK, stops several times, and one of those places is in Dubai. When they arrive in Dubai, they may need to change crew.

It could be 20 people getting off the ship and 20 people getting on the ship. With Vessul, they can handle it all. A crew manager or travel manager can search and make a reservation for everyone arriving on the ship.

You can have five people coming from Manchester to Dubai and 10 people coming from Johannesburg to Dubai; they must all be in the same place at the same time, ready to board this ship. The same goes for people leaving the ship; they all have to leave the Dubai ship to travel to various places around the world. They can book all of this using Vessul in a single booking.

FY: What problems do workers in the maritime sector face? How does Vessul intend to resolve them?

TY: Right now in this industry, if someone needs to book a trip, it’s a pretty fragmented process. They mainly do this on their own by hiring a large travel team who are then responsible for booking all trips. There are a lot of Excel spreadsheets, emails and information – it takes a huge amount of time.

Other companies may have a pre-management system. They can have a travel management company in place, and then they will plan ahead for crew rotation in the crew management system. Then they’ll deliver the information to the travel management company, where the huge customer service team has to book everything manually.

With our solution, we can limit errors and limit the overall cost, and there are massive savings for our customers. We’ve partnered up with existing travel management companies they already work with so that we can combine our technology with the systems they already have.

FY: The service has been beta tested. What were the conclusions?

TY: We have selected several different companies, [including] mainly shipping and shipping companies [and] some mining companies as well.

The initial test was to see what size of crew rotations we could use our rig for. We wanted to understand where it ends so we know what kind of crew change might happen on an online platform.

We have found our solution to be perfect for small to medium sized crew changes [because] it tops out at around 50-70 people. Over time we will be able to do larger crew rotations online, but at the moment we know that is not our goal. We focus on small to medium sized crew changes.

We wanted to use a BETA test to see what the online percentage versus offline percentage of travel booking would be. Before us, the market average for crew rotations booked through a customer service agent without any technology was 98%. When we have implemented our service, we can reduce this rate from 98% to around 50-60%.

FY: Why do you think a system like Vessul was not in place before?

TY: This side of the travel industry is dominated by travel management companies. If you are a shipping company and your travel management company doesn’t have the technology to offer you, you are kind of stuck because you need a travel management company to have all the global customer services. .

It’s one of those industries where it’s not as appealing to a lot of entrepreneurs, but for me it’s one of the industries where there’s a lot of potential for technology. It is an industry that is growing in its technological needs.

Their innovation is slower compared to any other type of industry, as there are not as many entrepreneurs operating in this space, either for appeal or for barriers to entry.

One of the barriers to entry is that it is very difficult to convince the shipping company to work with you because of the way they work and their priorities. The way we have handled this is that we have had strategic partners who have been working with us from the start that are already operating in this space, which has made it much easier for us to do this.

FY: In your opinion, what challenges will maritime crews face this year?

TY: One of the main problems is the reopening of borders. There are still a lot of problems getting visa clearances for crews in some countries.

This is a problem because the crew cannot leave the country or the crew cannot enter a certain country. It’s something that’s going to be a challenge for at least a year or two, depending on how quickly the world is vaccinated and reopens again.

The way we can prevent this risk is simply to make sure that we can give shipping companies and crews the right information up front. If they can’t do a crew change in a certain country, then we can give them another port to do it from which it can be less strict so that we can get the crews moving.

FY: Is there anything else our readers should know about?

TY: One thing I will tell readers, especially for this industry, is not to be afraid of change. I think this is something that needs to be done even more by this sector.

Be curious, proactive, and try to understand the changes ahead by looking at different start-ups or current investment trends to make sure their shipping company is as efficient as possible.

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