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Startup Profile 2020: Teqplay

Teqplay’s cloud-based platform combines real-time insights with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help users optimise port calls and streamline their supply chains.

Co-founded in 2015 by CEO Léon Gommans and CTO Richard van Klaveren, Rotterdam-headquartered Teqplay is a fast-growing digital ‘context broker’ that is able to furnish customers from the maritime sector with a raft of AI-driven solutions via its proprietary cloud-based platform. Able to offer both real-time and predictive insights, it can thus help users make more informed and adaptive decision-making to reduce costs, fuel consumption and emissions; improve asset utilisation; and identify new business opportunities.

Accessible via a range of products and APIs suited to the needs of customers, the company’s platform draws upon numerous data sources openly available within the public space, such as inter alia automatic identification system (AIS), hydro-meteo, routing and navigational information. From this, the platform, Gommans says, creates “a digital twin of the port [that] is able to tell the story of a vessel” as well as the pertinent terminal and the port as a whole. “We are not talking data points,” he states. “We are talking business stories. We’re talking business processes.”

Consequently, thanks to the platform’s continuous monitoring of vessels, port operations and external circumstances, it is able to provide users with an array of reports, timestamps and insights, ranging from when a pilot has boarded a vessel to predicted ETAs and departures as well as a whole host of other operations, such as bunkering. Or, as Gommans puts it, “everything to do with getting a better view of the actual status of the vessel”.

In line with this, the system will also send appropriate notifications and alerts to all key actors as events – either planned or unplanned – unfurl. “We focus on the operational processes in helping people to run their day-to-day business in a better manner. So, we will alert people on the quay, we will alert the planner, we will notify [all relevant stakeholders] when things start to happen during a port call,” he says.

However, while this is a clear boon to port and terminal operators, they are certainly not the only players that stand to benefit from Teqplay’s technology, with Gommans reporting that the company also lists numerous shipping lines among its clients. “What the shipping line is looking at is the best vessel that is leaving the port as quickly as possible,” he says. And being able to provide this information means that Teqplay can help shipping lines “make better decisions on how long a port call will last” while “also providing information to the stakeholders within the port call process [to help] achieve a faster turnaround time”.

Moreover, the wealth of information available via the Teqplay platform means that users can also gain significant business intelligence while simultaneously establishing and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) for their own continuous improvement. “I always distinguish three layers,” Gommans says. “Layer one is the operational processes; layer two is performance measurements; and layer three is maritime intelligence. It’s not only about knowing what you are doing, but also what your competitors are doing. So, even without having data from the operational perspective, we are able to benchmark you against competitors.”

“We create a shared awareness, which enables you to consistently achieve faster and more productive port call operations,” he continues. “We know what is happening now, we know the actual situation and we are able to predict [through AI and ML] what is going to happen the next hour, day and week.”

And when it comes to predicting the future, things would appear to be pretty rosy for Teqplay, which shortly after winning bronze this past November at the PIER71 Smart Port Challenge in Singapore opened a new branch office in that important maritime city. “We are now rolling out a lot of projects in Singapore,” he reveals, adding that Teqplay plans to not only broaden its operations in Asia, but also enter the US market during the second quarter of this year. Furthermore, Teqplay has also just signed a contract that will see it providing “a lot of the technology” for DNV GL’s new FuelBoss LNG bunkering platform. “Digitalisation,” Gommans says, “is key in bringing the industry forward. It’s about finding mechanisms to collaborate.”

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