Port Wings News Network:
Greek startup Harbor Lab welcomed in June its 300th vessel to its online disbursements platform. The achievement was realised 15 months after the software company launched its disbursements accounting (DA) processing solution for the shipping industry, which gives vessels’ operators access to agents and vendors at ports across the globe reducing back office administration by 75%.
Launched in Athens, Greece, in March 2020, the Harbor Lab cloud-based DA tool was used to process more than 4000 port calls in its first year of operation.
The disbursements platform provides transparency to the vessel’s operator on port expenses that will be incurred during her stay at port, DA calculations and instant port cost estimations.
A combination of data scientists and experienced maritime professionals, the company’s port analysts, investigate and extract the methods that calculate all port expenses for all ports around the world, based on the official port tariffs for all vessels’ types.
Harbor Lab has digitalized all retrieved port-related data (e.g. official calculation methods) via dynamic programming techniques and construction of sophisticated formulas. Data validity is achieved through day-to-day communication with agencies around the globe.
Through the platform, end-users get a transparent overview of port costs, including port fees (loading/ discharging, pilotage), bunker prices, spare parts and other sundries.
Harbor Lab’s CEO and Founder Antonis Malaxianakis says: “We are delighted to welcome our 300th vessel to our disbursements platform. When we launched Harbor Lab last year we set ourselves a target to celebrate our 20th vessel in December. In June we surpassed our target by 1000%. It’s great to know that so many vessel operators are already benefiting from our platform, reducing their back office administration and in control of their port costs through our cost comparison dashboard.”
Vessel operators, management companies and charterers pay a fixed fee per port call to access the system. Vendors and agents can register on the platform free of charge, with the option to upgrade to a premium subscription plan in a future release.
Around 1200 agents and vendors are currently registered and the operator can send multiple requests and appointments to an unlimited number of agents. Their rates are imported directly into the system, for evaluation by the operator. Harbor Lab also provides training and demonstrations free of charge to interested parties.
Harbor Lab customer Product Shipping & Trading S.A.’s Managing Director, Th. Belexis says: “Harbor Lab is a valuable tool which allows users to manage and process DAs in a fast and efficient way. The platform is well-designed and easy to use. It transforms complex daily procedures to a simple and accurate operation.”
Further, Efi Sioziou, Commercial Operator, Swiss Chem Gas, says: “The Harbor Lab platform offers a unique architecture that gives our company full and easy control on all DAs of our fleet. Designed to facilitate the operation, accounting and management department of a shipping company to automatically check disbursement accounts. Handles multiple collective and individual data with accurate entries.”
Harbor Lab’s CEO, Mr. Malaxianakis adds: “Having worked in disbursement accounting for seven years, I am familiar with the time and cost inefficiencies of conventional office-based methods. I created this platform to provide a central hub for all disbursement activities, to optimise workflows and to bring cost transparency to operators whilst their vessels are in port.”
The DA tool is one of three cloud-based solutions currently available from Harbor Lab. It also offers a position list to track vessels’ location and monitor weather enroute to destination, and a cost estimator to get approximate port expenses within seconds.
Harbor Lab’s software integrates with most ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems found in accounting practices, allowing full automation of data exchange between the platform and the clients’ ERPs.