We are a maritime-dedicated venture studio that create startups with practical solutions that generate high recurring value in maritime commerce. Our members come steep in maritime domain expertise, yet we operate at the fringe rather than the center as futurist system thinkers, designers, developers & operators of digital platforms. We know the problems, therefore we solve them as an outsider. This is our unique edge.


Maritime shipping is in a flux. Technological changes are putting pressure on businesses and people to adapt. While helping companies ride the digitalization wave, ShipsFocus take lead in creating otherwise unavailable value-add products by leveraging on technological breakthroughs. Yes, contact us, let’s make your ideas come alive!


Our time-series (since 2003) freight data and quantitatively developed chemical freight indices continue to improve as we access ever wider network of data, sources, ever-enhancing data processing and modeling. Our next goal is to develop these indices based on a hedonic model.


Our comprehensive data include time-series freight rates, ship, cargo and trade volumes in chemicals, lubes, vegoils, indicators in freight, T/C rates and S&P prices and forecasts. These are designed and supported by a data management framework including a robust IT infrastructure.


Our tech applications include: Chartering & ops systems; ship tracking; voyage & DA management system; document automation & management; BI & dashboards; and continually developing products like PortView; Cargo+; Position+; Book-a-Launch; AGENSEE, etc.


We believe technology should serve the users, and not the other way round. We usually start with a digital tool offering that lightens users’ workload. Our customer-centric approach, based on 3 core pillars of technology, intelligence and service delivers real values simply. 


We want to share our knowledge on innovation in maritime shipping and the challenges & opportunities it faces. In this process, our current & future collaborators can know more about us and the business we are doing, and create more values together.



What is really unique about Chemical Shipping (vis-à-vis other segments of shipping)?

James: 1) other bulk cargoes like oil, ore, or even container liners move in one direction, chemical cargo has more myriad ways of flows to/fro multiple ports and berths. 2) chemical cargo is not generic: there are hundreds of different types of cargoes and grades by multiple producers, users and traders involved. that leads us to: 3) the hardware: chemical ships have multiple segregations. voyage options and decisions for which cargoes to combine to where and how are much more varied, furthermore 4) while there may be some standardisations, many ships are built for specific needs. with this multiplicity of factors, optimal loadable quantity and performance of a ship can be a BIG VARIANCE. ironically, this also makes for an attraction and a low entry barrier into chemical ship operating as each operator believes in his one-upmanship within that big variance.

How is that uniqueness important in what you and ShipsFocus are doing?

James: maritime shipping faces various issues, like in 1) HR: people with great skills and experience are aging and leaving the industry, while new ones are not catching up fast enough; 2) PR: constraints to improving its image as an industry that has a wide spectrum of jobs ranging from off-shore to land-based; 3) TALENTS: shipping lull in the last decade did not help in attracting talents; 4) 24/7 nature it’s hard to sell ‘work-life balance’; 5) SYSTEMS: experience, know-how and network within a knowledgeable person are not captured systematically over time.

Our role is to fill gaps, bridging 3 major gaps: (1) between the ‘Old’ and ‘New’, (2) more and better use of data (3) optimising the ‘variance’ and efficiency. there are not many people in this unique space, and on such pursuits. to make it work, we have to cater to this uniqueness, using our unique knowhow, experience and network.

Which part of your background is most helpful to what you are doing now?

James: I believe it’s my background as a ship-owner and operator. I was with Hanjin first in VLCC and then Aframax, then to Chemical Tankers. that gave me tremendous opportunities adjusting from one to another. there were so many varieties and details in high frequency I had to know and adjust to. i became sensitive to the uniqueness in Chemical shipping. coincidentally, Hanjin was undertaking a PROCESS INNOVATIONS initiative, and I was required to provide inputs for a chartering and operations system, including on how it should work. unfortunately, users had to work for the system when it was developed, not exactly a system i dreamed of.

What is the biggest challenge in marrying tech and shipping, and what is your specific strength in this respect?

James: mainly it’s people’s fixed mind-set that’s the biggest obstacle. people say they are busy, while tech can help, they are reluctant to adopt such change. it’s a chicken and egg issue. our strength is the ability to cater to the specific and minute details that make chemical shipping unique, and the network we’ve gained trust from previous roles we played as shipbrokers. we get better chances than the tech people to hear the pain points and thus introduce the right solutions.