Chartering with confidence, an interview with Windward’s VP of Business Development & Growth, Ron Crean
Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with Windward, the Predictive Intelligence company applying AI to analyse maritime risk and transform global maritime trade. This partnership delivers a solution that allows our customers to charter with confidence by increasing efficiency in pre-fixture negotiations – users can now view a vessel’s risk score within Sea/trade. We sat down with Ron Crean, VP of Business Development & Growth at Windward, to discuss what this partnership means for our customers and the shipping industry.
Ron, please explain your role throughout this partnership?
I am VP of Business Development and Growth at Windward and I have been working with Sea/ by Maritech, the Windward team and our customers to understand how we can deliver an integration that provides users with sanctions-compliance visibility during pre-vessel selection. We know Maritech really well and we have wanted to collaborate – this integration seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Sea/, a suite of digital tools-for-trade for shipping professionals, does a brilliant job of combining all the factors involved in chartering a ship throughout the pre-fixture workflow. What we discovered from discussions with our customers is that they were jumping between multiple systems. This collaboration has removed that challenge, allowing them to work with one platform for all their pre-fixture and risk mitigation needs. Together, Windward and Sea/ have been able to create a trusted source of information that helps users work more efficiently, which is a great start!
How did this partnership start?
On 6 December, 2021, we became the first Maritime AI technology listing in London – another step towards our vision of delivering the best-in-industry Maritime AI platform. One of the great side effects of Windward’s fast growth is having the ability to make decisions and partner with other best-in-class providers like Maritech.
Ami Daniel, Co-Founder and CEO of Windward, and Jeff Woyda, Chairman of Maritech, began talking about how important it is to bring clarity and true expertise to the maritime domain. As a company, we are always happy to share our knowledge with the right partners, to ensure shipping stakeholders have access to true value and risk insights when making crucial decisions.
By choosing Sea/, we saw a great opportunity to leverage a decade of maritime risk expertise to help users, while enabling Windward to bring out insights to a whole new audience.
Why did you choose to partner with Sea/?
The partnership with Sea/ is a natural fit for Windward. When you look at Sea/, a leader in digital transformation in the maritime industry, it’s clear they are customer-oriented and focused on solving their users’ problems. Our Maritime AI adds another layer of risk insights and certainty to the Sea/ platform, a layer that is essential for traders, charterers, owners, and brokers. By delivering immediate go/no-go risk recommendations, users can go beyond compliance and digitise their business for operational readiness and future-forward decisions.
What is the value of this partnership for our customers?
When users use technology to make decisions in high-intensity, specialist markets, which both our companies operate in, the margin for error is low and you have to get it right quickly. We’re constantly pushing to make our technology more accurate and we know you are, too.
Today’s maritime industry is too complex for solutions that offer information silos. The benefit of this partnership for our customers is creating connections throughout their workflow. It’s about being able to surface the right data and insight to the right person at the right moment. That is exactly what the Sea/ and Windward platform will provide, there’s no need to get bogged down by all the details of everything a ship has ever been involved in. If you do want that information, though, the great news is there is 10 years of data available.
Do you see this integration developing further?
Absolutely! At Windward, half of our personnel work in R&D, something I haven’t seen elsewhere in my career. We have doubled our staff in the past year, which shows our intentions. We’re developing initiatives that will fuel new markets within our ecosystem, which Sea/ is also located in. It seems inevitable that we will eventually collaborate more and more together.
Are there any upcoming changes or regulations that highlight the need for this integration?
Most companies are geared up for sanctions-compliance screening on vessels based on whether the vessel is on a sanctions list, which is a good start, but that only covers 1% of 97,000 ships. Around 32,000 of these vessels are tankers, which is a lot to screen every day! Manually screening all these tankers is not efficient, or scalable. The shipping landscape is a a dynamic, moving sphere. Tomorrow’s scores could be different from today’s. According to our system, 3% of these vessels could be at high risk, based on their behaviour alone, before they hit any sanctions list. Up until now, no one in the market has looked at behavioural risk like we do. Interestingly, OFAC’s last advisory document included behavioural screening, which has never happened before
The future of maritime risk is behavioural analysis, and for Windward, behavioural screening is part of our DNA. We’ve been offering that to governments for years and it’s now becoming more commercial. By partnering with Sea/, we’re now able to offer this to users without missing a beat, and without making users jump through hoops or multiple platforms to get this much needed information.
Sanctions are not getting any simpler…if anything, they’re more complicated. Having this sanction risk-based information integrated into Sea/ allows users to charter with confidence. Such partnerships are the lifeblood of ecosystem building by stretching the boundaries of what was thought possible, we’re encouraging each other to continue to create new and better ways of working.
Find out more about the Windward and Sea/ partnership here or get in touch using the form below.