Background

  • Privately owned international shipping group established in 1998.
  • Currently manages a fleet of 22 chemical, product and crude tankers, plus tankers which are chartered-in.
  • Fully integrated platform comprising of commercial, technical, crewing and accounting services. All activities are in-house.
  • 4 offices employing over 50 shore staff and a crew pool of about 1,600 seafarers.
  • Specializes in shipping bulk chemicals worldwide.
  • Long established and deep industry relationships with major oil companies, traders, chemical producers, traders, agricultural conglomerates and brokers.
  • Priority access to millions of tons of petroleum, chemical and agricultural cargoes all over the world.

Norstar has offices in Westport Connecticut USA, Singapore, Tokyo and Myanmar with respective activities as follows:

USA, Westport Connecticut 
Norstar Chartering (USA) LLC – Commercial Operations.
Norstar Shipping (USA) LLC – Investor & Bank relations.

Singapore
Norstar Shipping (Asia) Pte Ltd – Commercial Operations, Owners accounting.
Norstar Ship Management Pte Ltd – Technical Ship management, Vessel accounting.

Tokyo, Japan
Norstar Shipping Group Tokyo Office – Business development, Investor & Bank relations.

Myanmar, Yangon
Norstar Crew Management Co. Ltd – Crewing and business development.

Chris Charter is Head of Operations for the commercial arm of Norstar Shipping, Norstar Chartering. After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy, Chris spent 5 years as a Deck Officer for an Oil Major, He then came ashore to pursue a management career. He has held a number of operational management roles prior to his current position as Head of Operations, which is a pivotal role in the company.


The Challenges

Commercial ship management for oil and chemical tankers involves several important challenges such as giving primacy to safety, managing risk, and valuing efficiency. Safety is a primary consideration and SOLAS is central when working with ships. However, managing financial risk such as from cargo contamination, as well as the threat of environmental impacts, are also important to these operations.

In addition to the need for safety, shipping is a competitive industry and commercial operations need to be efficient and profitable. Chris Charter says: “We work together as a great team relying on each other’s information and expertise to streamline voyages and make them as efficient as possible.”

“However, each chemical can be different, requiring different cleaning processes, tank preparations, and disposals, etc. Finding the specifics about each cargo can take up a lot of time” says Chris Charter.


The Solution

Milbros is an online database of information about liquid cargos and a toolset to enable the correct loading, unloading, and changeover of cargos. It is comprehensive and a single source of reliable information that enables all cargo handling decisions to be made with absolute certainty that you are acting on good information.

Key features of Milbros include commodity search, Cargo/Coating compatibility and regulatory and statutory data. Comprehensive information to assist with safety includes tank cleaning From/To recommendations, emergency response information and safety data sheets.

Booking list features include stowage plans and tank plans. Additional features such as a conversion calculator, a document library and email integration all help to centralize the process of safe cargo management.

Links within the listings enable you to rapidly see if chemicals are compatible with coatings of your ships’ tanks. Listings also give supplier information for the cleaning products that are recommended by the industry.

Some other sources of info are not as comprehensive as Milbros. These tend to be ‘proprietary’, geared to selling the information publisher’s cleaning products. Milbros is independent and provides the right information without bias so you can go to the marketplace to source what you need at the best price.

When historical, anecdotal and information of unknown origin cannot be trusted, Milbros is the resource you need so that you are sure your source is reliable, completely up to date and trustworthy.


The Results

Chris Charter says, “I’ve used Milbros for around 10 years now at three different companies before joining Norstar. With Milbros the information is all in one place, at our fingertips in seconds. We look up potential cargoes we may fix, check the specific gravity and cargo restrictions, so that we can quickly figure out stowage and how it might interact with other chemicals we have on board. It is great for checking time estimates for cleaning in order to confirm the timelines we are given by the Captains.

“One special project required an LR1 vessel to change from carrying a dirty petroleum product to clean petroleum products,” says Chris Charter. “Through the Milbros cloud software and support from the Q88 team, I was able to identify a better method of cleaning. I was able to save $50,000 on cleaning chemicals and we finished the job faster than anticipated. The ship was turned around a week faster than it would have been, which meant the ship generated an additional revenue of around $70,000.

“This was an exceptional circumstance for us, but Milbros saved us a lot of time and money for this cleaning. Overall, for me, the thing that makes Milbros indispensable for Norstar is it lets us make better informed decisions in an area where compromise is not an option,” Chris Charter says.