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Norbulk Shipping moves towards paperless ships with ‘cloud’ technology

Norbulk Shipping moves towards paperless ships with ‘cloud’ technology
Glasgow-based ship management firm Norbulk Shipping has migrated its IT systems to ‘the cloud’ via the cloud migrator for Google, Cloud Technology Solutions, in a move towards paperless ships.

Norbulk started the planned strategy with a pilot scheme in its Glasglow office. After running the pilot through various levels of the company for two months, it rolled out the solution across other management offices in Riga, Saint John New Brunswick, Manilla and St Petersburg.

A need for the shipping industry to move to the digital world has been recognised by InterManager, the international trade association for inhouse and third party ship managers, which believes the burden of administrative tasks falling on seafarers in today’s shipping indsutry is significant.

The paperless ship is a big issue facing the industry, according to Norbulk, with many companies trying to reduce time and paper used in form filling, both onboard and ashore.

InterManager is currently drawing up a set of guidelines aimed at reducing the amount of paperwork officers and their crew have to undertake while at sea.

Peter Karlsen, director at Norbulk, said: “We are continually developing our management systems and implementing cloud-based technology has assisted our goal of adopting paperless systems. With improved communications and transparency, we are able to access and interpret greater amounts of information. The benefits to the company, through this change in information flow are very real - systems do run much more efficiently as a result.”

The majority of Norbulk’s 80-plus ships it manages are run electronically, using the cloud-based technology for daily communication. With the use of the cloud migrator Norbulk Shipping moved email, calendars, contact and appointments from its old mail server to the new cloud-based system.

Karlsen added: “There are still a lot of handwritten forms that need to be filled in, but everything is logged into the system electronically. We have even moved over to paperless purchasing. Everyone is now trying to reduce the amount of paper that’s around.

“You won’t stay competitive unless you look ahead at advancements and digitisation and how that’s going to improve your businesses going forward.”