Digital Statement of Facts and the Future of Demurrage

In the maritime industry, the Statement of Facts is an important document that logs specific events tied to the loading and discharging of a ship. For the non-containerized sector of the shipping industry, 99% of these documents are still created using a clipboard, pen, and paper. From here the document is manually transposed into PDF form and shared via email. 

But in an era of digital transformation in the maritime industry, this dated method is a surprising sight. Every year, over 50,000 merchant vessels carry out loading and discharging operations worldwide, and we deduce that over the course of a year, an astounding 120 million events are being manually logged by captains, agents, terminals, and surveyors all over the world.

The SoF Bottleneck

The reliance on traditional paper & pen for creating a Statement of Facts is a massive inefficiency in an industry that employs highly skilled workers. In-depth analysis of data provided by terminals, brokers, shipowners, agents, and charterers reveals that an SoF document can contain a wide range of 25 to 120 events, taking up to 90 minutes to be processed (depending on the type of cargo being accounted for).

But despite the creation of a single SoF staying in the range of minutes, the subsequent manual workflows can result in over 3 hours of processing time along the value chain. This inefficiency is vividly illustrated when tracing the journey of an SoF from the ship to the operations table:

The industry is estimated to spend approximately 12 million hours on manual SoF processing. To make matters worse, the Statement of Facts is merely one of many documents produced during the load and discharge process, which costs the industry millions of dollars annually.

Driving Efficiency Through Automation and AI

The inherent challenge with SOFs is the substantial time and effort required to process data, manually enter events into spreadsheets, and review laytime. When managing multiple voyages and dealing with SoFs that contain 5-10 pages of events, this work can quickly pile up.

In this sense, using an automated SoF parser emerges as an essential step for charterers seeking to enhance efficiency while minimizing cost and risk: Our findings from Voyager’s customers suggest that companies can reduce at least 50% of the time taken to process a statement of facts document by employing an automated SoF parser.

This technology can automatically map critical events and calculate laytime, eliminating the tedious task of manually copying and pasting SoF information into spreadsheets. And by managing & automating their demurrage process through a platform, charterers can avoid manual data entry errors and missed calculations, increasing the accuracy on their laytime calculation and ensuring that all contract clauses are used correctly.

Besides, by using the continuous learning power of AI, leaders can save time and allow their ops and demurrage team to dedicate time to higher complexity tasks, investing their time in identifying more savings opportunities in contracts. This enables for a more auditable, transparent demurrage process across the organization and third-party stakeholders.

Better Data, Better Insights

Whilst the productivity loss for the maritime industry is a significant issue, the real opportunity lies in the fact that the Statement of Fact provides valuable insights into a company’s operation. By moving to a process with digital Statement of Facts documents, charterers can not only improve their operational efficiency but also unlock deep insights into the performance of shipowners, terminals, and ports. 

This data has the potential to transform demurrage management practices, where demurrage managers and analysts are empowered to make more accurate and informed decisions. Through SoF data leaders and operators can effectively gauge the pricing of specific port calls relative to congestion risk, accurately estimate time for specific port calls, ascertain the probability of incurring demurrage on a specific route, make strategic decisions about acquiring storage space, and negotiate optimal terms and conditions with suppliers, receivers, or shipowners.

Moreover, moving to a digital Statement of Facts document brings with it the benefits of real-time data accessibility and greater accuracy, which are critical in the fast-paced maritime industry. Machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques can be leveraged to predict demurrage risks and optimize operations, where this level of insight and foresight can drastically reduce the financial burden of demurrage, saving companies significant financial sums on their demurrage bill.

At Voyager, we have seen that aggregating SoF data with financial KPIs can showcase powerful trends, providing a complete view of a company’s chartering operations. These patterns in demurrage incidents can indicate issues in scheduling, loading/unloading efficiency, or even contractual terms that need to be addressed, enabling companies to fine-tune their operational and commercial decision-making processes.


The Voyager Approach

The transition to digital SoF not only symbolizes a shift towards greater efficiency but also opens up a world of data-driven decision making, offering a competitive edge in the dynamic maritime industry. 

Through Voyager Demurrage & Operations platform, companies can not only automate their SoF parsing and laytime calculation process, but also turn their demurrage data into savings and insights, achieving up to 7.5% of reduction in their demurrage spending through better processes and data.

Simplify Laytime Calculation and SoF Parsing with Automation and AI

  • Instantly map laytime events from your PDF document into Voyager;
  • Automatically calculate laytime with AI that learns over time;

Spot financial trends & contract negotiation opportunities with demurrage intelligence

  • Track processes, time bars and deadlines through end-to-end demurrage management
  • Measure Claims received vs. actual (paid) to track team performance

Monitor & Analyze valuable demurrage data & insights with real time dashboards

  • Understand your laytime calculation through root cause analysis;
  • Analyze historical trends for scenario planning and optimization;

If you want to see how Voyager can help Automate SOF Processing and Laytime Calculations, capture valuable data to drive deep operations insights, and identify demurrage savings opportunities, go ahead and explore our interactive demonstration, or schedule a call with our team:

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