Assisting international companies and governments

Southport Maritime Inc. headquartered in Palm Beach, Florida, is one of the leading shipbroking companies in the United States. The business services a global network of international companies and governments with maritime related market analysis and intelligence with particular reference to the tanker market.

The company’s tanker chartering department regards it as a privilege to have represented and serviced its clients in freight negotiations that have resulted in the successful transportation of billions of barrels of liquid petroleum and products worldwide.

In addition, the business provides the tanker industry with daily reports on short term volatility and long-term industry trends, enabling effective commercial decisions to be made with confidence. Proprietary analysis, consulting, risk analysis and hedging opportunities are services provided exclusively, and in confidence, to its clients.

Since being founded in 1992 the company has grown to become a specialist in chartering on behalf of international oil companies and traders for the safe and timely transportation of clean and dirty petroleum products worldwide.

Unique and with benefits felt in a number of ways

Jonathan Blake Corey (‘JB’), Oil Tanker Broker for Southport Maritime says: “There are some primary features that we find really help us do our jobs better. The live list shows current and projected positions of the vessels that are out there. We know where they are headed and when. It’s a really good application of AIS mapping, tracking boats and fleets and letting us see where cargoes are going.”

He continues: “We can see the particulars of vessels in the Q88 community to understand their suitability for specific ports and terminals. With this level of knowledge of the specs and dimensions of the vessels, we can understand their physical limitations. This is of great value as it saves a lot of time. We can quickly identify vessels which are appropriate for transporting the specific cargoes and intakes required for each proposed charter.”

JB Corey says: “The level of support and assistance we receive is outstanding. We really appreciate the in-app live messaging. When you hit the button, response is prompt and often lets us get an instant answer, and it’s something I wish that the IT industry should aspire to, because it as an example of how to do great customer support!”

Southport Maritime values the fact that Q88 is an independent business. JB Corey says: “Q88 is focused on serving the needs of the shipping industry and not purely on generating profit. Information can be sensitive and Q88’s knowledge of the industry and security best practice ensures that confidentiality is respected.”

“With Q88 we have access to a Position List that is quick, efficient, readable and exportable. Anything on top of that is just dressing that might get in the way, cause a distraction or complicate things for users. Q88 Position List is just right for our line of business,” JB Corey says.

Supports speed and commercial efficiency

Southport Maritime adopted the Q88 Position List collaborative tanker broking platform right from the beginning when it was first released, May 2017. The platform has been built by a team of experts with industry experience gained in broking and chartering environments. This inside knowledge means the system is focused on meeting the specific needs of the tanker community and the design emphasises simplicity, speed, and ease of use.

Deployed from the cloud, the platform brings all the benefits of true SaaS architecture, such as no requirement for on-premise infrastructure, zero impact on internal IT teams and reduced cost when compared with on-premise and hybrid applications.

Q88 Position List runs on any suitable device and browser with a mobile app available to enable users to work when on the move. Users quickly update positions and send position lists when at the desk or on the go. Saved searches are synchronized and available for all users and on any device. Track vessels via AIS and see other nearby vessels on a map.

To enable collaboration, users may send individual Q88’s and documents like certificates, where shared by the owner. Key features let users run distance calculations or voyage estimates and keep track of fixtures.

With offices in Singapore, Greece, London and the US, Q88 offers follow the sun customer service, 24/7/365. An experienced customer service team offers ‘live’ troubleshooting, including the ability to remote-connect and help customers solve any issues or answer any questions about the platform.

Accurate information to meet the needs of clients

The core business revolves around the team of 12 brokers which is tasked with negotiating and bringing in contracts. The brokers also support the operations team in overseeing voyages and making sure of smooth running. At any one time, Southport Maritime may have an ongoing interest in as many as 100 ships on the water.

JB Corey says: “We have a real need for efficiency and the ability to rapidly access accurate information. It is essential to identify tonnage that has availability to meet the needs of our clients and to make sure vessels are appropriate for voyages to the required destination and intermediate ports of call.” He continues: “Prior to the 2000s, some chartering processes would have been done on paper. After that it would have been done on a computer. However, today, this type of manual approach, with pen and paper, or maybe using Word or Excel is not realistic.”

“At the scale we conduct business, we need technology that enables us, that helps us to service the needs of our clients efficiently and effectively. We want accurate information, but we don’t want it clouded or confused by a system that is difficult to use or that contains too many features we do not need,” says JB Corey.”

Fritz Heidenreich, President of Q88 LLC says, “Southport Maritime is one of the earliest adopters of Q88 Position List and was instrumental in helping us bring the platform to market. While helping Southport move away from the underperforming position list information system it previously used, we picked up some cues that helped us to develop a better platform. There is a great deal of mutual respect – Q88 values Southport as a customer as much as Southport values Q88 as a transformational technology partner.”