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What it takes to enter a new shipping segment

CHARTING such a course is the only way to move forward, so how do you enter a new shipping segment with a limited track record and a small fleet?

After discussing with the Signal Maritime team, who launched their medium range two tankers pool a year ago, they spelt it out: “We had to deal with a bumpy start. However, we strongly believe that there is nothing that proper tools, the right people and mindset cannot achieve. After the first months, we took a step back, evaluated our decisions and leveraged our technology to clearly improve our performance.”

That provides proof that data-driven strategies can enable teams with a homogeneous culture to thrive in any sector.

The first step is to comprehend the world you are getting into, starting with the competition. Being humble enough to observe the trading pattern of established players and conducting a thorough and continuous analysis can lead to profound insights.

Are they aggressive or are they playing it safe? How long do they wait for the right opportunity? Which are the most common routes and cargoes? Which are the premium cargoes and how are they priced? These are some of the questions that can make a critical difference for a chartering team that is drawing up its strategy.

To achieve the right level of detail, data can prove the team's most powerful ally. Smart algorithms that marry commercial and geospatial data — interpreted by a skillful team — produce insightful answers. But, most importantly, data tools enable scalability. Once a tool is built, it can be expanded for any voyage, any vessel class, and any competitor.

However, leveraging data alone is not sufficient to accomplish long-term goals. Targeted approach and continuous client engagement can boost the collaboration and partnership between a company and its clients.

Building a strong network and communicating your company’s profile and priorities can be enhanced through physical presence and in-person meetings.

Panos Dimitracopoulos, chief executive of Signal Maritime Services, says: “Travelling to meet the people you work with is refreshing for the relationship and a reminder that you share similar values. Face-to-face meetings and friendships are a hugely differentiating factor in the small world of shipping. Having a local presence in shipping is key. This is why we are expanding our footprint to Houston and Singapore.”

Finally, a consistent, truthful message about who you are as a company and what you aim for should not be taken for granted. In an age of overwhelming information volume, reporting your results transparently in a digestible format is equally important to achieving goals. Moreover, frequent and fact-based updates on the company’s progress keep your network hooked and helps them gain confidence in your capabilities.

The Signal Maritime team concluded: “Building data analysis tools to solve business riddles, maintaining a strong company culture and putting our clients first are the key drivers to sustainable growth and development, even in the most adverse circumstances. Signal proves that this is achievable as we have demonstrated improvement in reaching top performance among peers.”

To learn more about Signal Maritime pools, details can be found on its website. If you are interested in starting a conversation with the company, contact Signal Maritime Services team with your request here.

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