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Better communication - better CII management

The following interview was originally published in the Hansa - International Maritime Journal, April 2023 edition.

Hapag-Lloyd, the global shipping and transportation company, works with Iceland-based software company Ankeri, employing its platform infrastructure to tackle CII management between counter-parties in a collaborative way, as Orlando Castillo (Director Chartering, Hapag-Lloyd) and Jörn Springer (Customer Success, Ankeri) explain.

What is the background of the co-operation with an eye on the CII regulation?

Orlando: We have been working with Ankeri for 5+ years now and during this time they have developed different modules for us, each one more sophisticated than the previous one. For example, we are evaluating vessels' commercial fit for trades in a comprehensive manner with Ankeri’s “Vessel Evaluation module” today. This includes vessel profiles and performance, service details. For us the question was: What comes next? Can we use this tool also to interact with shipowners and simplify our processes and communication? We thought about a common place where owners and charterers could share information and follow up on different cases. And this is how we got to what Ankeri calls Workspaces. It became clear very quickly that CII would be a very good topic for Ankeri Workspaces. Everybody agree that CII is something owners and charterers need to work on together as it is important to align on numbers and action plans.

So, when do you want to have the Workspaces tool ready to go into operation?

Jörn: Ankeri Workspaces has already been released and is readily available. It provides a seamless platform for individuals and organisations to collaborate on various workflows, such as stevedore damages, both within and outside their company. This infrastructure offers an easy-to-use interface that enables users to share and engage in communication around these workflows. As of now, the platform supports various widgets, with the latest addition being CII collaboration, which has become the most apparent use case in 2023.

From a charterer’s point of view, it is always good to have as much insight as possible. But an owner may not want to have an outside eye peering too deeply into his data and vessel operations…?

Orlando: An owner might be reluctant to share the conclusions of some analysis with charterers if that is against their interests due to, for example, a potential claim. However, the reality is that vessels are reporting to charterers enough data for charterers to run their own evaluations of the vessel performance. Therefore, I don’t think owners are concerned about making more data available to charterers because of CII. But there might be two disconnected analyses of the same data and that is what we need to solve. It is clear to me that the only way to address the CII topic is to look more closely into the collaboration aspect of it. We cannot do this by hiding one party from the other. We need to evaluate the relevant data jointly.

Jörn: A critical aspect of ensuring successful CII collaboration is allowing for enough lead time to take corrective actions if needed. This is particularly important when implementing changes to service patterns or improving hull performance, as these require careful alignment and adequate time. By establishing transparent and consistent communication channels and ensuring data availability, both charterers and owners can benefit from this process. It is in everyone’s best interest to avoid surprises towards the end of a charter party and prevent the need for time-consuming research and discussions on deviations that could have been addressed earlier.

So, CII is something of a booster for this kind of technology and collaboration?

Orlando: Yes, indeed. There is not only a need for better solutions for collecting, processing, and analysing the data of the vessels, but also it is important to verify that the data owners and charterers are using is the same. We believe that sharing data in emails and excel files is not good enough and hope we can address this topic using a tool like the one offered by Ankeri to enhance collaboration between charterers and owners.

If you have that information, that tool and that communication with an owner, is it fair to say that there might be less risk of litigation?

Orlando: In principle, yes. At the end of the day, the challenge we have with a vessel’s CII rating is that it is affecting owners and charterers at the same time and both parties need to address any issues with the ratings in a timely manner. And in order to take aligned action, we need a place where we can see that the data is available to both owners and charterers. It is important to understand that the co-operation between owners and charterers is key to address the CII challenges. A tool that facilitates the interaction between the parties should help to reduce the risk of noncompliance, reducing therefore the risk of litigation.

The Ankeri platform is a tool for existing charter-parties. But could it also be used when Hapag-Lloyd is looking for a charter vessel and compares vessel A, B, C of owner 1, 2, 3? Especially if there are more vessels available than needed?

Jörn: Yes, Vessel evaluation is one of the many workflows that the Ankeri platform supports. What started as a replacement for the paper-based questionnaire process has now evolved to include options for feeding time-series and past performance data via Ankeri’s Data Connections Hub. This feature enables owners and operators to exchange data without the hassle of different formats, using a modern, consistent, and controlled API infrastructure. As a result, the vessel evaluation process becomes more streamlined and efficient for both parties.

Orlando: We already use the Vessel evaluation module to do this. We can compare which vessel would be best for trade on planned/proforma assumptions. The challenge now, in reference to CII, is how to predict expected CII ratings under real conditions, i.e. including seasonal effects, differences between planned real-life operation, or how to include potential improvement measures into the prediction.

How can tools like this change the relationship between charterer and owners?

Orlando: One of the main benefits of a tool like this is that we will not need to share related information via email, but simply work in a common platform. In order to establish a trustful environment, where both parties feel comfortable with the information available, underlying data will be validated on beforehand. With. That, we would have overcome the first challenge, and that will facilitate any further discussion about the required measures for specific vessels. I am convinced that the approach must be proactive, so that whenever the CII rating requires action, the parties can discuss mitigating measures well in advance and not when we are close to the end of charter party or calendar year.

Jörn: I agree. When it comes to CII collaboration, having a common platform that can consolidate all the lines of communication is essential. Without it, it’s easy to miss the big picture and important details that could impact the success of the collaboration. With Ankeri’s platform, for example, owners and charterers can have a centralised hub to communicate and align on various workflows, which helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.


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