Nautisk, Norway’s leading merchant marine charts and publications supplier, has lately seen a rapid development, trying to establish itself as a key player on the global maritime navigation market.
The story of Nautisk started 115 years ago in Oslo, Norway. Once affirmed as the principal charts and publications supplier in Norway, the company has set in motion an ambitious plan for global expansion, opening offices in strategic maritime hot-spots, and providing its services world-round.
World Maritime News staff sat down with Mr. Peter J. Pran, Head of Global Sales at Nautisk, to discuss the recent developments within the company, as well as their plans for the future.
WMN: You have made substantial infrastructural investments over the past years. How many Nautisk’s global hubs are operational to date, and where are they located?
Pran: “Over the last few years we have built a network of global hubs which includes offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
We opened our Singapore office in 2006, and in 2011 we incorporated a U.S.- based company, as well as a hub in Hong Kong. Along with our warehouse in Bristol, we have a total of 5 hubs around the world.
We focus both on the paper and the digital aspect of the business. We do not see paper going away any time soon, and that is the reason we have invested so heavily in our infrastructure.
The number of paper charts that vessels carry onboard has reduced dramatically over the last few years, meaning that there is often a requirement to deliver charts for the same day, or the next day.
All our hubs operate using one central IT system, which allows us to check stock status, and exchange statuses back and forth, which saves operational costs and increases efficiency.”
WMN: What would you say is your edge over the competitors?
Pran: “We are a small company with 45 employees, so that makes us extremely flexible and able to adapt to our customers’ needs.
Within the next month we will release an update to the PAYS solution in the form of AVCS PAYS, which utilises data and charts from the UKHO (UK Hydrographic Office) .
Neptune is upgraded four times a year, based on the feedback we receive from our customers and we are constantly working with them to make enhancements to the service.”
WMN: Who are your biggest clients?
Pran: “Currently we cover 80-90% of the Norwegian market. We are working hard on expanding our scope beyond Norway, becoming a global player, hence the investment we are making in various hubs around the world.”
WMN: You have recently announced a partnership with a software company Telko. How did this collaboration come about, what are the upshots of your joint venture, and are you planning to continue your partnership?
Pran: “The cooperation came about as many of our customers use the Telko TECDIS, which have made it important for us to create an open communication in order to ensure the best possible service to our customers.
We are continuing our open communication with Telko, and are actively approaching other ECDIS manufacturers to see where we find a common ground.”
WMN: What challenges do your clients frequently encounter when switching from paper to digital format?
Pran: “ I think the greatest challenge in making the switch to digital navigation is creating and implementing procedures, as well as ensuring navigators are not only trained and certified, but proficient in the use of ECDIS.
We are constantly talking to our customers in order to help them solve the challenges ahead.
This includes minimizing the administrative burden and simplifying and automating routine task, but the next major challenge is to include everything needed on the bridge in one simple solution.”
WMN: Do you offer any kind of training to your clients, in order for them to adjust to the new technology?
Pran: “We do very little training as the software is easy to use, most minor issues are handled by our 24/7 dedicated support team.
We do offer training and lectures on the transition to digital in relation with captains conferences or special training events our customers do.”
WMN: How do you see charts and publications market changing in the following years, and what will be the main focus of your future projects?
Pran: “I think we will see further integration of services into one platform, but I do not think that platform is the ECDIS.
The ECDIS should do one thing and that is to get you safely from A-B.
The other services should be handled on a back of bridge platform that integrates all the services needed for planning a safe voyage.”
WMN: Do you have any other pending projects?
Pran: “We have recently released our PAYS (Pay As You Sail) solution, a licensing method for digital charts.
The client can install a large portfolio of ENCS for use within a single voyage, but pay only for those that are actually used.”
WMN: What are your plans for the future?
Pran: “A large amount of our business focuses on NEPTUNE, our vessel information system.
NEPTUNE offers real-time corrections for paper charts, electronic charts, publications and everything that vessels need onboard to stay up to date and compliant.
It can be also used as a back of bridge vessel management and planning tool.”
World Maritime News Staff, July 14th, 2014; Images: Nautisk