April 10 - Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) reports strong growth in the number of owners in Japan and North East Asia signing up for its' Ships Agency Re-Defined (SARD) product.
Neal De Roche, area director WSS North East Asia said: "Since launching SARD globally at the end of 2010 we have seen high levels of uptake from the North East Asian shipping community, with growth levels of around 15 percent throughout 2011. Japanese vessel operators and owners are extremely positive about the fact that SARD provides a 'one point of contact' system. In fact, SARD can save up to three hours per port call for our Japanese customers. This is crucial to guarantee efficient operations and fast turnaround".
Launched in 2010, SARD allows customers to deal with all of their ships agency requirements from one central point, with improved communications between the agency and the operator, resulting in efficiency savings, predictable pricing and a single bank account for all payments, facilitating easy access to online job and tracking information, claims WSS.
General manager WSS Japan, Junichi Saito, is confident that take-up of SARD will continue throughout 2012. He claims that: "SARD is different to any other ships agency offer in the market right now, because it offers global, world-class services at a local level. Our team works in the same time zone and speaks the same language as our customers and Japanese owners can take advantage of the scheme globally, not just in the home islands," he says. "We continue to invest heavily on resource and expertise in Japan and across North Asia to meet the increasing demands of this growing maritime hub. Currently, we cover 180 ports in Japan with four main service centres and offices located in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Moji."