Maritime Data Network Announces Computerized Charter Fixtures Library

A newly developed, computerized system— designed to provide shipbrokers, charterers, and shipowners around the world with instant, timely, and accurate information reflecting the constantly fluctuating charter fixtures market — has been announced by Maritime Data Network, Ltd. (MARDATA), Stamford, Conn.

The system, the "Charter Fixtures Library," is part of MARDATA's Marine Information Service which is offered on a global scale for the benefit of the marine transportation industry. MARDATA is an international firm owned by Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Lloyd's of London Press Ltd., Marine Management Systems Inc., and others.

Eugene D. Story, MARDATA's president, said the Charter Fixtures Library is considered to be one of the most important of several library systems either presently in operation, or being prepared, by the Stamford- headquartered company.

Instant Research Capability "The Charter Fixtures Library is unique in that it is the only computerized data file of its kind available to the maritime community.

The new system will eliminate the need for extensive, costly manual research through publications," Mr. Story stated.

The data, which originates with shipowners, brokers, charterers, and various news services in the U.S., Europe, and the Far East, includes vessel name, deadweight, cargo, charterer, period, load area, discharge area, rates, and dates. The Library file is updated on a daily basis.

Historically, he explained, the charter market had always reflected "word-of-mouth" negotiating and reporting between shipbrokers, charterers, and vessel owners. He commented that "a shipowner, naturally, tries to get the most for the use of his vessel, while a charterer seeks the best possible deals for moving his cargoes." The price agreed upon is governed by supply and demand as in the stock market.

Time Lag Reduced Mr. Story cited the time lag before reported charter fixtures information is published in the industry's publications, pointing out that MARDATA's service aims to reduce this interval substantially to provide subscribers with information almost as fast as it is reported.

MARDATA's personnel will begin the day by listing charter fixtures as they are reported in London, with their counterparts in New York and Tokyo continuing the procedure as these markets become active.

Pointing to time zone differences, he said that by the time the business day begins in New York City, five or six hours of data will already have been collected and filed in the Library's system.

Simultaneously, as the business day closes in New York at 5 p.m., MARDATA's Tokyo office, where the time is 6 a.m., will take over the task of monitoring the data. Their job will be to verify the accuracy of the data input that day and make necessary corrections, referring to telexes and oral reports received from brokers.

Practical Applications Seen Shipowners and charterers using the Charter Fixtures Library will be able to obtain immediate reports on what ships have been reported as fixed in the market, the kinds of commodities being transported, and the freight rates for different trades.

For brokers, he declared, the Library represents the fastest means of collecting, in an organized manner, vast amounts of information on charter fixtures.

"The system can be quite useful to assess the market and make projections for their clientele," he added.

GE's Mark III Network MARDATA's service, which utilizes GE's Mark III Network for global transmission, enables the subscriber using a keyboard terminal in his own office to access—in a local phone call—a master computer for desired information. Link-up between the continents is via communication satellites.

Where local tie-line service is not yet available, the system may be accessed through telex, thereby making the service available virtually anywhere in the world.

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