New online platform helps Bahamas Maritime Authority improve productivity and customer satisfaction
The Bahamas Maritime Authority (the BMA) was established in July 1995. It is now one of the world's largest registers, with over 54 million gross tonnage of ships flying the Bahamas flag, in every corner of the globe.
The function of the BMA is to register vessels, enforce ship safety requirements and to constantly monitor and improve standards. It also represents The Bahamas at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other international bodies
such as the European Commission and the US Coast Guard.
The BMA has offices located around the world including London, New York, Hong Kong and Greece. Running one of the world's most respected flags, the BMA has established a reputation for quality and service - attracting many prestigious global shipping companies.
The BMA was running a number of different legacy systems on technology that was becoming outdated. They required a new enterprise system that would provide their staff, around the world, with a centralised, single repository of information which could be shared by their different departments. This new system would help them to improve their processes and ensure that, moving forwards, they had a stable, secure and strategic IT platform, which could be adapted to meet the future needs of their business.
Moreover, the BMA also recognised that, in order to improve service to their customers and help drive efficiencies, they needed to move some of their service delivery online. The international ship registry market is very competitive and the BMA strives to be one of the market leaders.
From the outset, the BMA realised that the implementation of a new system would involve a significant investment in terms of both staff and financial resources. The BMA carried out a thorough Return on Investment (ROI) analysis to demonstrate that the upfront costs in terms of both capital investment, and the effort required by BMA staff to adopt the new solution (the Bahamas On-line Registration Information System or BORIS) would be outweighed by the efficiency savings, improvements in customer service and the reduced risk of data loss.
The BMA awarded PDMS the contract to develop their new online system, after seeing first-hand how PDMS' MARIS platform had helped to transform the Isle of Man Ship Registry.
The first part of the project involved PDMS working onsite with the BMA, to produce a detailed analysis of what their business needed and to identify the enhancements required to the existing MARIS platform in order to meet these very specific needs.
PDMS implemented the complete MARIS platform for the BMA - providing them with one central platform from which they could manage their entire business including vessel registrations, surveys, seafarer registrations and all corresponding documents and certificates.
One of the major phases of the project, was the development of the 'on-line services' element. This became known as BORIS (Bahamas On-line Registration System).
BORIS enables registered users to:
- Register an Operator or a Company and add or update their address and contact details
- View their recent transactions including outstanding invoices
- Access their documents e.g. receipts, CRA letters etc.
- Pay invoices
They can also manage their Seafarers, for example:
- Submit Seafarer applications directly (Navigation, Engineering, STCW, GMDSS, Record Books etc.)
- View, edit and add Seafarer details
- Request Seafarer certificates e.g. training proficiency certificate and verify the validity of certificates
- Submit applications for Seaman Record Books and Flag Sate Endorsements
- Make credit card payments and monitor the progress of their applications
BORIS helps the BMA improve customer service delivery through:
- 24/7 provision of the Confirmation Receipt of Application (CRA) for Flag State Endorsement; Certificate of Competency for Navigation; Engineering; GMDSS and Tanker Officers.
- 24/7 provision of receipt of applications acknowledgement letter for all other training and proficiency documents which are not already included above.
- Increased accuracy and greater reliability for Seafarers data - recognising that this data will be entered by the user.
- Active monitoring/ tracking of applications, at any time, by the user through a web-based system.
- Improved financial control - one of the conditions for access to the system is the establishment of a credit account or an agreed financial arrangement with the Registry.
- Ability for permissions-based multi-user access within a 'Company'.
- Environmentally friendly solution as documents are submitted electronically.
- Records are only displayed on the basis that all minimum specified information is provided.
PDMS delivered the BMA's new system on a managed service basis, where PDMS is responsible for all hosting, data security, backups and upgrades to infrastructure from its ISO27001 certified hosting centres. This reduces the cost for traditional support services and also the burden on internal IT services.
The new centralised system and online services have significantly enhanced both the BMA's customer service provision and consequently the overall reputation of the flag.
BORIS helps support the international nature of the BMA's business - it operates across multiple time zones and accepts different currencies. It is accessible from anywhere in the world by authorised users with an Internet connection and a browser. Ship-owners or their agents have online access to the system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; along with a new service for processing online payments.
BMA employees now have instant access to BORIS over the internet and they don't need to be in a specific office location to complete their work. Remote working has reduced the costs of operating satellite offices in different countries by lowering overheads.
BORIS promotes greater collaboration and information sharing not only between teams, but also between international offices. All BMA systems are fully integrated with its sites around the world. This is with a view of working as a single global team. Employees have access to one central repository of information, regardless of their location and the system automates the workflow of tasks across the globe.
The team have instant access to up-to-date information and can easily share business intelligence. In addition, BORIS has also helped with internal performance measurement and reporting. Critical business data can be extracted, analysed and distributed in monthly management reports.
The BMA benefits from upgrades to relevant software developed by Microsoft and PDMS and PDMS manages the service and all related IT infrastructure. By using internet-based technology and taking advantage of the complete end to end service offered by PDMS, the BMA is now making considerable cost savings on IT infrastructure and support at each of its global offices. In addition, it is estimated that the Authority will save over $100k (US) when establishing new global offices in the future.
The BMA is a very progressive registry and already has ideas, working together with PDMS, to further enhance their new online service provision which, together with their highly skilled staff and quality of service ethos, will all continue to help secure their ranking as one of the world's leading registries.
Commenting on the project, Leon Dorsett, Financial Controller, Bahamas Maritime Authority commented, " We are delighted with the outcome of the BORIS project to move all of our data and processes into one central platform and to deliver key services online. By working in partnership with PDMS, we have significantly improved our customer service, operational performance and our overall competitive advantage. The level of support provided by the team at PDMS is excellent and we enjoy working with them as we continue to invest in technology to help drive our Registry business forward".
Find out more about MARIS for international ship registries