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Startup Profile 2020: Chartdesk

Bulk shipping operations generate masses of emails. ChartDesk offers a cloud-based collaborative solution to not only better manage these communications, but simultaneously enhance a company’s productivity.

Based in Singapore, ChartDesk was founded in January 2017 by Keith Tan in response to what he describes as the inadequacies of generic email solutions when it comes to meeting the many critical business requirements of commercial bulk shipping operations. “Since the 90s, the entire bulk shipping business has been largely run on emails. The highly-fragmented nature of this market forces all participants to communicate and pass information to each other via emails in an ad-hoc and unstructured manner,” he says.

“Today, with cloud computing, many of the technologies which can help transform bulk shipping are getting democratised and no longer accessible only [to] big companies with deep pockets. The adoption of such solutions is now only limited by a user’s habits and reluctance to adapt to new ways of working,” he continues. “We believe that the industry is nearing an inflection point for the more widespread adoption of more innovative solutions.”

And when it comes to innovative solutions, ChartDesk provides users with a cloud-based email system developed specifically for the needs of teams working within the bulk shipping sector. Designed with collaborative messaging in mind, it employs chat and task assignment features that, among other things, ensure all team members know what has been sent to and received by whom; whose role it is to deal with a particular email and the undertake any applicable tasks; and whether such tasks have been completed or not.

“Right now, we offer a very effective solution for any teams using shared mailboxes by eliminating the use of distribution lists and internal cc’ing and forwarding,” Tan says. “By applying a deduplication algorithm under the hood, and by making the chat and assignment functions readily available in the context of each email, we are able to reduce the email glut by at least 40%. In a world where a typical shipping team commonly handles at least one to two thousand emails a day, I’d say the productivity gains are significant.”

By reducing this email glut, ChartDesk can thus help companies guard against costly lapses, oversights and missed business opportunities. Moreover, the system not only ensures that all the communications between internal and external stakeholders are stored securely, but that they also remain easily retrievable by operational personnel.

Built for scalability, interoperability and integration with other systems, ChartDesk also boasts a number of other tools to enhance the efficiency of a bulk shipping team, including a comprehensive ship database, AIS tracking and a directory of owners, charterers, brokers and agents.

What’s more, the company plans to further increase ChartDesk’s value proposition in the near future by adding more features and automating some of the more laborious processes associated with extracting unstructured information trapped in emails. “The long-term goal is for ChartDesk to become a portal where key business intelligence is consumed for decision support during the chartering process,” Tan states.

To date, ChartDesk, he reports, “has been fully field tested with customers from China, Singapore and Europe who rely heavily on ChartDesk every day to handle the rigors of chartering operations”. Indeed, ChartDesk is arguably “the only product which is cloud-platform-agnostic” and which “can run effectively anywhere in the world, including China”.

“We are intently focused on shipping and we believe that making critical tools and information readily available and accessible in an integrated and coherent way to the users is of utmost importance. Asking the users to adopt and adapt to a new tool is hard enough, we want to make sure that the change process is as painless as possible,” he states.

About Author

Brian Dixon is a business and industry journalist with more than 20 years' experience writing about ports and logistics. A member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, he has covered stories on six continents. He divides his time between the UK and East Asia

Comments (1)

  1. Rene NIELSEN

    Finally a good looking mail solution for the shipping business!

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