Dot Com, Maritime Style

Thursday, June 15, 2000
Much as has transpired in mainstream consumer markets, the dot com craze has recently enveloped the maritime world with promises of cost savings and operational efficiencies.

While an attrition and natural process of consolidation can eventually be expected, the world of e-commerce solutions for the maritime market is definitely in its infancy. While it is impossible to judge the full working models in this report, the following text contains synopsis reports on some of the more noteworthy market entrants. Site Name/Address Boat-Park.com Purpose Virtual trade show for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, marinas, trade associations and publications Status Recently launched by Boston-based WebPark Corp., Boat-Park.com is an on-line virtual trade show, which seeks to bring together worldwide participants into its virtual trade show, which is open 24/7. The company's database is designed to bring together thousands of international marine businesses into a logically structured WebPark. Boat-Park.com features boating related businesses, in more than 20 major categories. The company offers a full cadre of marine products, including components, engines, electronics, hardware, plumbing and safety equipment, to name just a few. Site Name/Address www.bolero.net Purpose Provide a global e-business platform for importers, exporters, shippers and financial institutions Status bolero.net, the e-business infrastructure company, has retained the investment bank UBS Warburg to advise on a private placement of shares aimed at leading venture capitalists. The new equity is being raised in order to accelerate the company's business plan. The company has successfully tested the bolero.net system and over 30 major corporations have now signed up as users. The company plans to become a key infrastructure provider for B2B e-commerce and a facilitator of global trade flows. Substantial operating cost savings are expected to be generated throughout the logistics chain for users of the bolero.net system. bolero.net was created by the TT (Through Transport) Club, which serves as the investment vehicle for the world's container fleet carriers, ports and terminals and logistics companies; and the international financial community through S.W.I.F.T. (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). Site Name/Address www.eFinance-it.com Purpose Equipment Buyer's Finance Resource Status In mid-April CIT Equipment Financing — a well-regarded marine commodity — announced the re-launch of its Web site, eFinance-it.com, which is designed to be a unique application for equipment buyers with a variety of finance and industry resource functions. For 12 months CIT has developed efinance-it.com to a comprehensive site by combining financing functions with relevant industry information for customers and other users. Tailored to the specific needs of the equipment buying community, the site provides CIT customers, vendors, manufacturers and brokers with a complete loan servicing package that includes online credit application, reporting, invoicing and analysis, all in a protected and secure environment. Site Name/Address www.etermsys.com Purpose Terminal Management for Ports Status eTERM is an Internet Terminal Management System that was introduced by Americas Systems, Inc. (ASI) to provide full terminal management functionality for ports, marine terminals and depots at a fraction of the costs of existing systems. The system is capable of accommodating a wide variety of terminals, does not require expensive hardware and software investments, as eTERM takes advantage of the power of the Internet. "Whether terminal operator, carrier, shipper or forwarder, the many features of this product can assist your business," said Steven Bushey, ASI president. The pricing is transaction-based. Site Name/Address e4marine Purpose Free means to procure goods and services for shipboard use Status e4marine is touted as the marine industry's first truly open and free web/EDI business-to-business solution. The site combines the strengths of Unitor, Visma and Umoe, this new service will ensure shipowners, managers and operators with a means to procure goods and services for use onboard. The core application within e4marine provides a solution for the marine procurement cycle, from initial enquiry from the vessel to final payment of the invoice. Income will derive from fees based on the members' savings; telecom traffic commissions; on-site promotion; site sales commissions and Web hosting. Examination of a typical marine purchasing transaction reveals up to 25 distinct steps with an average cost per order transaction estimated at $150. The e4marine facility, integrated with Unitor's and Visma's Site Name/Address Equilinx.com Purpose A gateway for searching, selecting, and buying ship repair and replacement parts, equipment, and services. Status The gateway combines databases of catalogs with a search engine that allows buyers to locate parts for ship repairs and maintenance. Sapient, a leading e-services consultancy, is providing the digital business strategy, creative design, and implementation to power this new gateway. Commerce One, a leader in global e-commerce solutions for business and Vitria Technology, a leading provider of eBusiness infrastructure software, are providing the technological foundation of the initiative. "Equilinx is essentially Web-enabling and streamlining the maritime procurement process for buyers and suppliers. Currently, purchasing agents must sift through many unwieldy catalogs and spend numerous hours tracking down parts and services through phone calls, faxes and e-mails," said Jim Ungerleider, CEO and president of Equilinx. Equilinx has signed on several premier buyers and industry suppliers as charter members, including Maersk Line, the world's largest provider of containerized transport solutions, and Osprey Ship Management, Inc. Site Name/Address Freightdesk.com Status Freightdesk.com was created by industry insider (or some would say industry 'inciter') Rob Quartel — who is well known for pushing the business-as-usual norms out the door and fighting for ideals for the betterment of marine transportation around the world. Freightdesk.com is designed as an easy-to-use Web application service that enables international freight intermediaries to address technology and information needs. The service, which also features a full roster of shipping industry talent, is touted as a revolution in cargo management, enabling business to be conducted smarter, faster and more cost-effectively. The powerful suite of products gives freight forwarders and brokers the tools needed to book, track, move and clear goods quicker, easier and more efficiently. FreightDesk.com offers the ability to: •Track purchase orders from inception to completion—- down to the SKU •Get detailed visibility into the shipment pipeline •Exchange shipment information and collaborate across the transportation chain •Eliminate phone calls, faxes and e-mails •Track your cargo from computer, PDA or web-enabled phone •Connect to schedules, tariffs, business tools, Internet marketplaces and other vital information Site Name/Address www.GoCargo.com Status GoCargo.com is designed to be a leader in the container shipping industry, touting its ability to help shippers — regardless of size — procure cost effective and efficient transportation. Designed for shippers or qualified transportation service providers, the site purports to help users to break through barriers and enjoy a more efficient and profitable way of doing business. Shippers receive multiple competing bids from service providers in an auction format. Shippers make the decisions by viewing and evaluating options. GoCargo.com is independent and has no affiliation with any shipper or service provider. Registration is free. Site Name/Address LevelSeas.Com Purpose LevelSeas.com is designed to be a leading global marketplace for buying, selling and managing bulk ocean transportation. Status Plans were recently announced to create a new Internet-based on-line exchange set to revolutionize the traditional marketplace where ship owners, shipbrokers and cargo owners conduct business. LevelSeas.com will offer a ‘life-of-the-voyage’ solution for all seaborne wet and dry bulk commodity shipping. It will provide comprehensive freight management services encompassing market intelligence, online chartering, pre and post fixture activities and risk management tools, including freight derivatives. LevelSeas.com has the backing of BP Amoco, Cargill, shipbroker Clarksons and Royal Dutch/Shell Group — investors who represent significant shipping volume and expertise — and will accelerate industry-wide adoption of the new marketplace. Site Name/Address MAREX.com Purpose Marex.com's mission is to provide a central on-line procurement hub for the marine industry that automates transactions, aggregates information and provides related services. Status Marex.com is a business-to-business e-commerce solution, open only to marine businesses, Marex.com has developed a proprietary set of procurement solutions that together address the entire marine industry purchasing lifecycle, from planning through procurement to liquidation. The company has been active in pulling together deals, which enhance the functionality and value of its site, most recently aligning with freightquote.com, a provider of online freight services for shippers and e-commerce companies, to offer its members freight logistics services, including access to online rating, scheduling, tracking, and reporting, using a single electronic interface. Site Name/Address mE-World/www.btme-world.com Purpose Suite of information, messaging, tracking and transaction services Status Launched last Autumn at the Europort exhibition in Amsterdam, mE-World (Mobile Electronic World) aims to provide all of the tools and services to manage merchant marine business from a PC or laptop. "mE-World is a unique and powerful 'total business environment' that puts fleet management into the desktop or laptop," said Patrick Spink, head of external affairs, BT A&M and the mE-World program owner. He added: "It's not a first-generation e-shop that you may enter once a week or once a fortnight. This is a big step forward, an everyday all-day operational environment in which to run a marine business." The front-end to the system is a full-time desktop dubbed mE-Desk, which brings together all the functions of a fleet management office within a desktop environment. It also features a new mE-Mail multi-format communications platform, built on BT's new ICIS communications engine, which is a unified messaging and information system. With just one inbox and outbox, the user can process all common message formats including telex, fax, voice, video, e-mail, video, graphics and data files, as well as attached files. Site Name/Address www.OceanConnect.com Purpose Online Marine Fuel Supplier Status OceanConnect, which seeks to bring the business of buying ship's fuel online in a fast and price-efficient manner, has lined up a host of industry power in an attempt to make its yet-to-be launched service stand-out among the current and anticipated e-commerce clutter. The most recent alliance was struck with ship broking group Horace Clarkson Plc, which will support OceanConnect.com's initiatives to develop credit insurance and swaps capability to the online marine fuels marketplace. Clarksons — the world's biggest shipbroking group — will also become an equity partner in OceanConnect. Other partnerships include shipping companies Eletson Corporation, Keystone Shipping Co and Stena Bulk AB plus Japan's Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Company and energy information provider Petroleum Argus.

The site, which is due up soon, will also feature real-time information on pricing and product availability. Other investors include BP Marine, Fuel and Marine Marketing LLC (FAMM is a joint venture between Texaco and Chevron) and Shell Marine Products. Site Name/Address www.Shipbrokering.com Purpose Cargo Fixing Real Time Status Shipbrokering.com claimed to have had almost 400 members in less than 30 days of launching. It is designed as an application for owners, brokers and charterers to match each other's requirements in real time. Members post directly their open Cargo, open Vessels and T/C. Site Name/Address ShipDesk Purpose Independent Chartering Exchange Status Unveiled mid last month, ShipDesk is the culmination of work of Tufton Oceanic, a leading shipping investment house; OptiMark, a U.S.-based electronic marketplace developer; Antfactory, a pan-European e-business accelerator; and Whitney & Co., a global private equity firm. The service offers a wealth of industry expertise to support its electronic infrastructure, and Dirk Langeveld, former CEO of Tufton Oceanic, is the organization's first CEO. The service purports to offer a highly secure and confidential "total freighting environment," from underlying commodity trade through post-fixture and voyage completion. "ShipDesk will lead the migration of the $150 billion vessel chartering market to a fully screen-based environment," said Langeveld. Apart from Langveld, ShipDesk offers a host of maritime industry talent to ensure its services are compatible with it's user's needs, including: Lars Hjaltman, ShipDesk's chief technology officer and former CTO at Gearbulk; Fred Doll, director and former director of H. Clarkson; Christoph Toepfer, product development director and formerly with Tufton Oceanic; Peter Rygaard Andersen, VP Marketing/PR and formerly head of marketing at BIMCO; and Jens-Erik Olsen, head of ShipDesk's Hong Kong office and formerly MD of Trom Asia. Site Name/Address www.ShipVertical.com Status ShipVertical Internet Group, Inc. (ShipVertical) has launched its Internet marketplace. The company introduced its registration web to business parties worldwide with a plan to roll out — in stages — a number of applications during the second and third quarter of 2000. ShipVertical is a Vertical Marketplace, designed to unite a broad scope of business partners in the shipping industry to transform supply-chain management globally. The site broadly targets organizations involving ship owners and ship operators/managers to manufacturers, distributors, brokers, agents, intermediaries, and suppliers for matters including marketing, sales, procurement, distribution, and delivery. To date the company claims that approximately 600 vessels, together with about 1,000 small, medium, and large businesses in the supply chain, will participate in the marketplace pilot phase. Site Name/Address www.tradiant.com Purpose/Status See related story. Site Name/Address www.Transportation.com Purpose Customs brokering, insurance, price and delivery data Status Still in the developmental phase at press time, Transportation.com, is targeted at small to medium-sized shippers in particular, with services to be provided via the Web site include customs brokering, insurance, price and delivery data, analysis of systems and others. Transportation.com anticipates a second quarter launch and is testing the site. It is being funded by trucking company Yellow Corp. and two venture capital firms, TL Ventures and EnerTech Capital Partners. The company recently named former U.S. transportation secretary Samuel Skinner as chairman of the board.

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