A new app developed by a specialist demurrage analyst hopes to save the oil and tanker industry millions by simplifying the demurrage claims process. Digital Ship spoke with the creator of the app, Ms Leena Asher to find out more.
In the oil and tanker industry, millions of dollars are being lost due to the rejection of demurrage claims as a result of delays in submission beyond the agreed time frame.
Demurrage is a simple calculation of over use of time over and above what has been agreed between oil tanker owners and charterers. A demurrage claim is made by a shipowner to a charterer if the loading/unloading is delayed and if the owner is breaching the laytime as stated in its charter party contract.
However, speaking to Digital Ship, Ms Asher, a specialist Demurrage Analyst, said that claims are being rejected because submission is made after the agreed time bar, something that is not an unusual occurrence.
A claim can fail or be rejected if not made within the allocated time period, sometimes in as little as 90 days in the tanker industry, or if the correct documentation does not accompany the claim. This can leave shipowners at a significant loss. “The demurrage industry in itself is worth millions of dollars,” Ms Asher said.
Shipowners, therefore, have to be extremely careful when submitting a demurrage claim, ensuring they have the correct documentation and do so within the time period to minimize the chance of it being rejected.
Realizing the problems shipowners were facing and the losses tied up in submitting late claims for demurrage, Ms Asher developed an app that calculates demurrage claims on the go and without access to their usual systems, helping to save the oil and tanker industry significant costs. To calculate demurrage using the I-Demurrage app, the user inputs 5 fields, and the calculator then works out the demurrage, and emails the results back to the user.
Ms Asher explained to Digital Ship that she noticed there was a gap in the market for a technology that could help to reduce these delays in demurrage claim submissions and the losses associated with rejected claims.
“I have been traveling between offices and carry my work along and I realized I was not always close to my systems and in the office environment to prepare the calculations and send out the claim. This is when I realized with almost every activity available on the mobiles today, there was no app for the demurrage industry. That began the start of the I-Demurrage journey,” Ms Asher told us.
While Ms Asher has been developing the app since May 2018, her background spans more than 20 years working alongside one of the largest oil companies in upstream and downstream operations. “My background did certainly help me to identify the gap initially,” Ms Asher explained.
There were some challenges in developing the app, largely “designing the calculations that would work in the background,” Ms Asher told us. “Every morning I would start with a clear mind to improve where I had left it the previous day. It took me several tests before I was satisfied with the final product.”
Following the initial development of the app, several peers began messaging Ms Asher and giving her feedback about the app, which led to further developments and its eventual launch. Ms Leena Asher hopes that the I-Demurrage app can help the oil and tanker industry save their demurrage claims from being time barred, and reduce capital losses.