Exactly 8 years ago, e-Navigation specialist NAVTOR signed its first customer, launching the concept of Pay As You Sail (PAYS) ENC subscription to the global marketplace. The customer was Havila Shipping ASA and the vessel PAYS set sail with, the Havila Clipper, is still using the same solution to this day. However, it’s no longer alone on the voyage…
“We’re just about to hit a very significant milestone,” remarks company CCO Børge Hetland, “with almost 6000 vessels now subscribing to NAVTOR’s innovative e-Navigation solutions.”
“It’s been an exciting journey and the Havila Clipper marked the first step on the way,” he adds.
The PSV in question – one of 23 world class offshore vessels within Havila’s fleet – is still sailing with the NAVTOR PAYS solution it first received back in late February 2012.
At that time PAYS was a breakthrough innovation within the nascent world of e-Navigation. Up until that point vessels had to agree to traditional subscription models, based on set ENC cells and time scales. This was convenient for ships sailing set routes, but problematic for those with more erratic operational patterns. NAVTOR’s PAYS broke the mould, only levying charges for the charts navigators actually used during voyages, while allowing them to instantly access any chart for planning.
It was flexible, transparent (with users and managers seeing exactly what they are paying for) user-friendly, and very cost effective.
Hetland explains, “In an increasingly competitive business environment, it allowed, and still allows, our customers to keep track of operational expenditure and, with its easy management and seamless updating, slash the burden of administration. In short, it is simple, efficient, safe, compliant, and delivers optimal business and operational value. That has proved to be a very attractive proposition, with over 70 % of our customers now opting for PAYS over traditional ENC subscriptions.”
But back in 2012 it was a new idea that needed to win support. Enter Havila.
With its fleet of PSV, AHTS, Subsea and RRV vessels, Havila conducts worldwide operations for some of the leading names in the energy industry. The firm was keen to simplify the management of it navigational charts, reduce navigator workloads and optimise costs, as Andrè Tarberg, Purchase Manager, Havila Shipping ASA, explains:
“Our vessels don’t just sail from point A to B every day, so subscribing to ENCs according to set ENC cells and timescales was both complex and expensive. We wanted to find a solution where we’d only need to access and pay for the charts we actually ended up sailing with, while simplifying the whole process. When NAVTOR knocked on our door with exactly that it was easy to say yes.”
PAYS was tested out on the Havila Clipper, with the feedback it was easy to install and use, especially in terms of updating and compliance – with traditional ordering and installation of charts on CDs being replaced by seamlessly updated ENCs delivered via the NavStick device.
“Suddenly the headache of ENC management was cured,” Tarberg states. “Navigational life onboard the Clipper was transformed and, once we had experienced that proof of concept firsthand, it wasn’t a difficult decision to act and spread those benefits further.”
Today every ship within the Havila fleet operates with NAVTOR PAYS.
“It’s hugely gratifying that Havila have stayed with NAVTOR through the course of our development,” says Hetland. “They are our first and longest customer, and it’s been a close collaboration that has helped build our understanding of market demands and how to meet them. I think it’s fair to say they have a special place in our heart!”
Although the bond between the two has stayed the same over the years, not much else has for NAVTOR. The Norwegian headquartered business has now grown to encompass offices in Japan, Sweden, the US, UK and Singapore, with customers from well over 60 countries. In addition to PAYS, the team has introduced the world’s first digital chart table (NavStation), a unique Passage Planning software module (slashing vessel administration time), and the first type approved ‘cyber secure’ e-Navigation communication gateway (NavBox) for totally secure data transferal between ship and shore, amongst many other achievements.
In the past year alone revenues have climbed by approximately 40% as new, and existing, customers see the benefits of signing up to multiple products within NAVTOR’s e-Navigation portfolio.
“We see e-Navigation as about far more than digital charts,” Hetland concludes. “Through continual innovation and the seamless sharing of information between vessels and shore we can use it as the foundation for a new era of smarter shipping. By adding new functionalities and really harnessing the power of our customers’ data we can help them achieve greater efficiency, enhanced safety, reduced costs, diminished environmental impact, and, in doing so, a more sustainable shipping industry, with increased predictability and optimal decision making.”
“Together,” he finishes, “we can navigate the future of shipping!”
It’s a vision that Havila, with the Clipper, was quick to buy into in 2012, paving the way for thousands of followers. Who knows where this digital voyage will take NAVTOR and its growing customer base in the next eight years?
In a sense, the voyage has only just begun…