Welcome to our newest series, Meet the User, designed to give our customers a voice and our readers the opportunity to gain an insider perspective on our products and solutions. Through this series, we aim to connect and educate the shipping community, and inspire innovation and industry growth.
Meet Nikolaos Kontos, director of operations at Concord Maritime in Stamford, Connecticut. Nikos is a graduate from SUNY Maritime College and a holder of a Chief Mate license for unlimited tonnage from USCG.
Interviewer: Tor-Arne Berger, Q88 Product Manager
Tor-Arne: Hi Nikos, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me. How often would you say you are using Q88?
Nikos: I am using Q88 numerous times throughout my workday, referencing it for various things. We use all the key features of the system: questionnaires, certificates, inspections, officer matrix.
Tor-Arne: What’s the key value of the system for you in your role with Concord Maritime?
Nikos: I frequently search vessel particulars to verify if the vessel meets a certain restriction, like LOA, beam, air draft, etc. This allows me to quickly validate that we may proceed with the intended vessel. Before the vessel goes on subs, during the pre-fixture process, I look at data continuously. I obviously check the SIRE information, date of last inspection, and when heading to a discharge port, I check if it’s time for a new inspection and if the port is suitable for that.
Everyone has their own database or system on the technical side, but on commercial when everyone uses Q88, the single location for updated data and documentation is key. The system is very easy to use, in no time we can have everything uploaded and shared.
Using cargo history integrated with our VMS system also makes that part of the questionnaire near automatic. Anyone in chartering can look quickly on the last cargo history and grade, which can be crucial for fixing the next cargo. For example, they can easily see the last voyage – type of crude or fuel, and if any restrictions and/or requirements for the next cargo, we can then assess the expenses required for the next cargo, knowing what is necessary for the tank prep, whether cleaning, purging, etc.
Tor-Arne: Has the pandemic changed how you work?
Nikos: No, not at all, nothing truly changed on our end. Ships continued to be fixed under the same protocol. When we were working remotely, we had access to everything as our software toolset is all cloud based, making for a seamless transition to WFH. The only difference was the location and communication, using Zoom/ICE/WhatsApp in place of personal interaction with coworkers.
Tor-Arne: What, if anything, would be an additional feature that you’d like to see on Q88.com?
Nikos: The system is pretty complete from a commercial perspective. A way of sharing data and documentation via a link we can email instead of attachments would be a welcome improvement. A system notification, for example via email, when someone updates a certificate date without uploading a new certificate.
Tor-Arne: Nikos, thank you very much for your time!