Traditional financial systems have progressively disrupted seafarers’ financial freedom, along with contributing to feeding the complex and expensive bureaucracy of international salary payments. In fact, the impracticality of current processes increases risks and costs for both employers and employees.
Worldwide deliveries of about 90% of vital supplies, such as medicine, food and technologies, pass through maritime transportation every year, relying on an internationally growing and diverse group of seafarers.
Nevertheless, innovations granted on land are yet to reach the maritime field; high costs and frequent delays in credit and access to salary have brought the shipping industry to fall behind in regards to payment and compensation solutions, increasing general discontent among shipping companies and seafarers alike.
In 2022, digitalization has entered multiple aspects of ship operations, including ship design and management, communications, and navigation.
However, has the digitalization trend extended to payments yet?
“In the realm of finance and seafarers’ payments, there has been virtually no discussion, progress, or notable innovations,” Justus Schmueser, Kadmos co-founder, said in his recent presentation at the 30th edition of SMM in Hamburg. “This is puzzling because, unlike many areas, the way that seafarers have been paid hasn’t changed for decades,” he continued.
In fact, the way the industry pays employees is outdated, and relies on 1970s technology. For instance, the SWIFT system still constitutes a main method by which seafarers are paid, along with cash payments.
For shipping companies, the current salary payments process is expensive, inefficient, time-consuming, and, for all, requires onerous administration efforts. As per employees, the process is unreliable, costly, and lacks flexibility.
In a survey* by Kadmos GmbH and PROPEL SOCIAL LTD, 700 seafarers shared their thoughts regarding salary payments.
- 76% of seafarers agree or strongly agree that it is too difficult to send money home
- 86% of seafarers agree or strongly agree that more mobile banking services would improve their well-being
- 86% of seafarers agree or strongly agree that they would choose shipping companies that use new digital technologies
Fintech comes to the rescue
The Berlin-based Fintech Kadmos is on a mission to make the salary journey of millions of international workers more transparent, comfortable, and less expensive.
Kadmos provides companies with a user-friendly, low-cost, and secure method for international salary transfers, while every migrant worker receives a digital wallet as well as a free debit card to remit or directly spend money.
The Kadmos end-to-end salary payment platform is built with cutting-edge financial technology, leveraging local banking networks, Fintech software, and e-wallets to transcend the traditional challenges of paying seafarers based around the world.
Shipping companies can automatically add their seafarers to the payment platform through API-integrations with various crewing softwares. This results in employers drastically cutting expenses and administrative work, and employees significantly saving and keeping more of their salaries, due to market leading foreign exchange rates and low transaction fees. Shipping companies no longer need to manage bank information, while seafarers get paid instantly, and can access their money on-demand via debit cards, tied to e-wallet accounts and accepted across the globe. Another advantage for both parties is the Employee payroll self-service; employees can decide when and where to send their salaries, while the number of inquiries to the accounting department of the employer decreases. Additionally, Kadmos offers 24/7 live support to its users, who no longer need to contact their employer when they have any questions regarding salaries.
Digitalization is undoubtedly beneficial for both shipping companies and their seafarers. In recent years, the focus on the well-being of seafarers has widely increased, and crew retention is becoming a more pressing topic for shipping companies, who at times struggle to find the right tools and channels to improve their seafarers’ happiness.
Digitalization of salary payments is not simply reducing costs; it plays an essential role in improving seafarers well-being by providing financial independence and making their daily life easier. Better salary payments provide security, transparency, control and peace of mind.
Kadmos is a Berlin-based Fintech on a mission to revolutionize the way seafarers get paid. In an industry dominated by opaque mark-ups, kickbacks, and literal bags of cash, Kadmos wants to reduce administration and accounting costs associated with paying crews, while providing seafarers with more control over their finances. Read more about Kadmos, the team, and founding story.
*The survey was sponsored and funded by Kadmos GmbH and conducted by PROPEL SOCIAL LTD. The survey was conducted from 4th of August 2022 through 5th of September 2022. The survey was hosted exclusively on the PROPELme app, which is a lifestyle platform exclusively for seafarers. Respondents were offered a small monetary incentive for participating. The survey questions were in English and had undergone validation for understanding and clarity with a small seafarer focus group prior to the commencement of the survey.