The maruFreight Shipping Platform: Making Optimal Matching of Ships and Cargo a Reality

maruFreight, Inc. (hereafter, “maruFreight”), a joint venture of Mitsui & Co. and Weathernews, Inc. announced on January 28 the launch of their maruFreight shipping platform, a service which the optimal matching of seafaring vessels and freight a reality.

The maruFreight Shipping Platform: Making Optimal Matching of Ships and Cargo a Reality

Ship and Cargo Matching: Why It Matters

Even as many business operations have been digitized in recent years, in the maritime trade industry, cargo owners looking to estimate shipping costs face an arduous task. Shipping companies are expected to produce and submit estimates within a short period of time, but given the complicated factors involved between the cargo owners and shipping companies operating tramp ships (vessels without a fixed schedule), the reality is that it often takes considerable time and effort to finalize the deal.

With the expansion of cross-border e-commerce and new ICT-based shipping solutions, global logistics is undoubtedly a growth market. At the same time, there is still significant room for increased efficiency. In the shipping sector, there is a clear demand for increased simplification and optimization from both cargo owners looking to ship their goods and the shipping lines that handle the transportation.

Introducing maruFreight

This is the environment that brought about the formation of maruFreight. In December 2017, Mitsui & Co. and Weathernews, the leading provider of maritime shipping information, teamed up to establish maruFreight, a joint venture with the goal of building a matching platform for the shipping industry.

Making full use of Weathernews’s data and expertise in providing maritime shipping information services, as well as AIS satellite data, maruFreight has worked to provide a shipping matching service that could support the process of arranging tramp ships. Not content to simply make ship chartering more efficient, maruFreight has been proactive in logistical innovations, employing IoT and big data to optimize value chains.

maruFreight’s Innovative New Service

Users of the maruFreight service receive information regarding available tramp ships and bulk cargo. It is also possible for cargo owners and shipping lines to communicate with each other via the platform throughout all phases of the chartering process, allowing for smooth and optimal negotiations.

Cargo owners and shipping lines can connect via the platform and see a visualization of the supply chain. This makes it possible for them to not only improve their own efficiency, but also potentially reach prospective customers around the world. maruFreight is taking particular aim at the European and American markets in their effort to optimize shipping efficiency and supply chains.

Digitalization in the Maritime Shipping Industry: Capturing the Eyes of the World

Saudi Arabia has developed FASAH, a national platform capable of aggregating trade and commerce data from government organizations and private corporations. Just recently, it was announced that FASAH would be implementing a blockchain-based logistics solution on a trial basis.

If blockchain-based “smart contracts” become a reality, there is the possibility for wide-ranging benefits: increased operational efficiency via automatic contract enforcement, less need for brokers and intermediaries, decreased risk of tampering, and more. One could certainly say that the first step has been taken towards the digitalized future of maritime shipping.

Author Rie Fujikawa(Beyond Editorial Department)

Japanese original text